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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Zines, Culture and Self-Expression

"lairs zine" by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“lairs zine” by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

At the heart of local culture and creative storytelling emerged zines. The beauty of a zine is its cut-and-paste eclectic taste that questions status quo and gives a voice to anyone and everyone who has something to say. They are visual forums without commercial backing. Zines haven’t gone away, and there are some today that remain pillars in culture for people from all different backgrounds and life experiences. Gritty and messy, zines are mostly about self-expression.

Even libraries have an interest in zines, with articles written about what some institutions are doing to preserve the culture and history of these handmade works. One such example is the University of Iowa Library, where science fiction zines and others from the 1930s and 1950s are being archived. Another example is at the University of Chicago Library where zines about women, music and activism are collected. The need to be heard is always growing, and zines make that possible.

With the first “science fiction fanzine” published in 1930, it’s easy to see that zines have been around for a while. The infographic I’ve created provides a brief history of zines with a more complete timeline found on the Duke University Libraries page.

Some colorful examples of zines can also be found here:

The Lab
Mashable
Creative Bloq

Does your library collect zines? Have you ever made a zine? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest! We’d love to hear about it.

World’s Oldest Library Restored

After four years of renovations (totaling $30 million US dollars), the al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco has reopened. For the first time in its history, however, it is now open to the general public.

The library is part of the al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859 and is the world’s oldest continually operating university. In the 9th century, a wealthy Muslim woman from Tunisia named Fatima al-Fihriya provided funding for the construction of a mosque, which later expanded into a university. Her diploma, a wooden board, can still be seen today.

Aziza Chaouni, a Canadian-Moroccan architect, oversaw the site’s renovation, which boasts restored fountains, colorful mosaics, and refurbished texts. The library restoration included a new gutter system, solar panels and digital locks to protect the rare books room. Air conditioning was also installed to control the humidity.

 

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

For 1,157 years, the library could only be accessed by theologians and academics. Today, visitors from around the globe can flock to see the oldest library in all its glory.

6 Magnificent Museums Around the World in 2016

Did you know every year since 1977, people around the world celebrate International Museum Day on and around May 18? Each year the event centers on a theme, and for 2016, it is Museums and Cultural Landscapes. The celebration of International Museum Day is growing with more than 35,000 museums participating in 2015.

International Museum Day was created back in 1977 during the International Council of Museums General Assembly in Moscow, “with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.” To honor this culturally historic day, I’d like to highlight six beautiful museums around the globe.

More information can be found on International Museum Day here and information about the International Council of Museums can be found here.

1. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain houses modern and contemporary art and remains an architectural beauty. American architect Frank Gehry designed the building with Bilbao’s urban landscape in mind.

Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain

“Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain” Photo credit: Arch_Sam via Foter.com / CC BY

2. The main entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France is the grand Louvre Pyramid which reflects light splendidly during the day and glows magically at night. This museum is one of the world’s largest and its iconic Louvre Pyramid entrance was designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei.

"Entrance to Louvre Museum in Paris, France" Photo credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ via Foter.com / CC BY

“Louvre Museum in Paris, France” Photo credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ via Foter.com / CC BY

3. The National Museum of Art, Osaka in Japan continues to grow with over 6,000 works as of March 2011. The museum’s objective aims to preserve Japanese art and the relationship Japanese art has with the world.

"National Museum of Art in Osaka -- Japan" Photo credit: mith17 via Foter.com / CC BY

“National Museum of Art in Osaka — Japan” Photo credit: mith17 via Foter.com / CC BY

4. The Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand is a special museum for its historical offerings, especially in natural history and military history. The museum has undergone multiple renovations over the last two decades. There are parts of this museum which also serve as a war memorial, honoring those who died in both World Wars.

"Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand" Photo credit: AdamSelwood via Foter.com / CC BY

“Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand” Photo credit: AdamSelwood via Foter.com / CC BY

5. The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar showcases Islamic art from three continents and spans 1,400 years of work. This museum aims to safeguard Islamic culture through opening minds with Islamic art. The museum houses prayer rooms though it is not a religious institution.

"Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar" Photo credit: jikatu via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

“Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar” Photo credit: jikatu via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

6. The Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria owned by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has a futuristic design and houses more than just the aircraft museum. There is also a restaurant and bar where visitors can enjoy. This multipurpose building has a collection of airplanes, helicopters, and racing cars.

"Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria" Photo credit: heatheronhertravels via Foter.com / CC BY

“Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria” Photo credit: heatheronhertravels via Foter.com / CC BY

Are you planning to visit your local museum soon or an iconic museum far from home? Remember you can research museums and their countries in eLibrary and CultureGrams. Tell us about it in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Teaching World Cultures: Three ProQuest Resources

Why Study Culture?

“In today’s world, understanding both our similarities and our diversity becomes increasingly important. Through an understanding and appreciation of cultural difference, children will be better prepared to live in an ever-shrinking global community. And increasingly, our classrooms are becoming miniature models of the global community itself.”—Nancy Jervis, Ph.D., China Institute

The quote above shows just how vital it is for students to study culture.

Students need to be prepared for our increasingly interdependent, globalized and networked world. Migration and immigration are causing societies to become more culturally and linguistically diverse.  The nature of the workforce is changing as globalization continues to level the playing field for workers worldwide.  And many of today’s issues—ranging from climate change to public health to terrorism–have a global dimension, requiring people to work with others from different cultures and nations to solve such problems.

In the introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the authors identify the understanding of other perspectives and cultures as an essential feature for college and career readiness. Common Core Standards require students to read a variety of literature and informational texts and encourage a focus on deep research by asking students to gather information from multiple resources.

Below, I highlight three ProQuest resources to help meet CCSS literacy requirements and to develop increased cultural awareness in your students so that they are equipped for college and career.

Three ProQuest Resources:

1. CultureGrams contains primary and secondary source cultural content for more than 160 countries. There are four editions: the World Edition (for students in middle school and up) and the Kids, States, and Canadian Provinces editions (for students in upper elementary school).  Each country contains up-to-date information on the people and their customs and courtesies as well as facts on lifestyle (housing, diet, recreation, etc.) and society (government, economy, education, etc.).  Students can access interviews, videos, recipes, graphs, maps and more. The Curriculum Standards PDF shows all the of the national standards met or developed by each CultureGrams product.

Argentina

Screenshot of Argentina in CultureGrams

2. SIRS Issues Researcher contains a World Cultures Leading Issue with articles on multiple perspectives to help students with their research. The World Cultures Leading Issues, along with the hundreds of other Leading Issues, are crafted to help students analyze and synthesize a wide variety of resources and present a cogent argument.  Perfect for debates or papers covering more than one side to an issue, each sub issue contains an essential question with supporting pro/con articles.

World Cultures Leading Issue

Screenshot of World Cultures Leading Issue, SIRS Issues Researcher.

3. eLibrary has hundreds of culturally-relevant Research Topic pages, including ones on indigenous peoples, religious groups, ethnic foods, as well as many on literature and the arts, such as haiku and folk dance. These pages contain links to editorially-selected articles and websites as well as a trove of primary source documents, videos and images.  Here is a sampling of the type of eLibrary Research Topic pages relevant to the study of culture:

eLibrary Research Topic Pages

Collage of screenshots of three eLibrary Research Topic pages

How to Find Research Topic Pages:

Students can find these pages via keyword search or by clicking on the following link on the search page in eLibrary:

Research Topics link on the Basic Search page

Screenshot of eLibrary link to list of Research Topics

Tell Us What You’re Doing!

Are you using ProQuest to help your students learn about different cultures? Did you create a lesson plan using one of our products? If so, we’d love to here about it! Let us know in the comment box below.

 

SKS Spotlight of the Month: National American Indian Heritage Month

Before Europeans arrived on North American soil, Native Americans had lived and prospered on the rich, diverse land for thousands of years. By the time colonization programs began in the late 16th century, disease brought by explorers and colonists had devastated Native American tribes along the eastern coast. Many died.

Native Americans at a Powwow <br /> by U.S.D.A./Larry Rana, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Native Americans at a Powwow
by U.S.D.A./Larry Rana, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

As history shows us, European colonization and settlement continued across the United States as wars ravaged tribes and destroyed relationships between the natives and newcomers. It is a history fraught with violence and emotion.

In the mid 19th-century–a mere 164 years ago–the federal government took action to promote peace between Native American tribes and European settlers. The Indian Appropriations Act created Indian reservations in the region of Oklahoma, an effort that instigated anger, erupting in more battles and wars.

The Indian New Deal of 1934 provided additional rights to native tribes and allowed and encouraged these tribes to govern themselves. Some compensation programs paid reparations for lost lands and broken tribes, but not all of these programs were successful. Throughout the 20th century, Native American activist groups struggled for rights and causes significant to their people.

In the 21st century, Native Americans are revered for their beautiful cultures and remembered for their harmonious connection with the land and nature. But issues facing native peoples and tribes remain unsettled. Many people feel strongly that the deep wounds afflicted on these populations are not healed. Economic, emotional, and social difficulties continue to plague Native American tribes living on Indian reservations. Hot-button issues persist in mainstream American culture, such as the controversy surrounding the Redskins and their team name and mascot.

This November, be sure to celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month. Engage your students in the incredibly important history of Native Americans. Introduce them to significant native people of the past, such as Red Cloud, Squanto, Crazy Horse, and Sacajawea. Teach them about the ways and cultures of tribes, such as Cherokee, Cree, and Iroquois. Help foster in your students a love and appreciation for Native American art and customs. Join SKS and its November SKS Spotlight of the Month in emphasizing the significance of the great heritage and complicated history of Native Americans.

CultureGrams–Regional Quiz: Oceania

An outer island man holds his granddaughter’s hand while they walk down the street. Grandparents are respected figures and are generally cared for by extended family members. (Colonia, Yap, Micronesia, November 2012)  Image Source: Karyn Sorenson

A Yapese man holds his granddaughter’s hand while walking across a street. (Colonia, Yap, Micronesia, November 2012)
Image Source: Karyn Sorenson

Oceania encompasses Australia, the world’s smallest continent, and the Pacific Islands, consisting of some 25,000 islands in more than 20 nations and territories. How much do you know about the region of Oceania? Test your knowledge with these tidbits from CultureGrams:

1. Australia has more of this marsupial than people.

2. The Lord of the Rings films were shot entirely on what island nation?

3. Which country in the South Pacific has the last Polynesian monarchy?

4. Traditional Samoan feasts are prepared in an underground oven called a ____?

5. What is the national flower of Fiji?

6. What mineral is a major export in New Caledonia?

7.  True or False: The lava-lava (traditional skirt)  is worn by both men and women?

8. What does the term Micronesia mean?

9. Which island nation is the smallest in Oceania?

10. What is the most prominent religion in Oceania?

 

Check your answers in the comments section. 

-Jenni Boyle

The First Kwanzaa

(Credit: The Official Kwanzaa Web Site)

The first Kwanzaa, an African American celebration of life, was celebrated in 1966. Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years. The name comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits of the harvest.” Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa as a way to bring African-Americans together, and emphasize the role of the family and community in African-American culture.

Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1) honors a different principle–unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. A different candle on a seven-branched candle holder (kinara) is lit each day. Three candles on the left are green; three on the right are red; and in the middle is a black candle. These three colors were important symbols in ancient Africa. Green represents the fertile land of Africa; black is for the color of the people; and red stands for the blood that is shed in the struggle for freedom. Along with the seven principles (nguzo saba) and the seven days of Kwanzaa, there are seven symbols that are used to represent the meaningful themes of the holiday. These seven items are arranged in an area set up as a Kwanzaa altar or table in the home. The celebration also includes the giving of gifts and a karamu, or African feast, held on December 31.

ProQuest’s SIRS Knowledge Source allows educators and students to learn more about the history and traditions of Kwanzaa by exploring resources like these:

More Cultural Than Religious, Kwanzaa Rooted in Tradition

Why We Celebrate–or Don’t Celebrate–Kwanzaa

Rooted in Africa, but Made in U.S.A.

Why the Arts and Humanities Matter

What skills do students most need to succeed in the twenty-first century? And how can we best help them acquire those skills? In today’s global economy, a well-rounded education that encompasses the arts and humanities is vital. According to Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, success in tomorrow’s workplace will depend on mastering qualities that cannot be easily outsourced or automated; in other words, right-brain traits such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to inspire and persuade.

SIRS Renaissance was created out of the belief that the arts and humanities aren’t a luxury but a necessary part of a complete education. From literary criticism and profiles of prominent authors to interviews with contemporary painters, filmmakers, poets, dramatists, composers and more, SIRS Renaissance promotes self-directed research, deep and meaningful engagement, critical thinking and an expanded worldview. Containing editorially-selected articles that support and align to the Common Core standards, as well as full-color graphics, including art reproductions, photographs and illustrations, SIRS Renaissance helps students engage their “right brain” and develop the knowledge and creative skills that will give them the edge in the twenty-first century workplace.