New books from SCU Faculty

That elusive peace of mind

Thomas G. Plante, professor of psychology and director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at SCU, knows well how the practice of mindfulness, drawing on Eastern religions most recently, has taken an increasingly prominent place in modern health promotion and stress reduction. But a secularization of the mindfulness doesn’t tell the whole story. Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health (Praeger, 2010), edited by Plante, fills in some important gaps, reconnecting mindfulness and faith, drawing on Christian and other traditions from around the globe. Most contributors to the volume are SCU faculty and members of the Institute. Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology Shauna L. Shapiro and then-student Hooria Jazaieri M.A. ’10collaborate on “Managing stress mindfully.” Professor of English Diane Dreher is part of a team offering “Translating spiritual ideals into daily life: The eight-point program of passage meditation.” Sarita Tamayo-Moraga, a Zen priest and lecturer in religious studies, contributes “Zen and the transformation of emotional and physical stress into well-being.” Of special interest to busy businessfolk: Andre L. Delbecq, the J. Thomas and Kathleen McCarthy University Professor of Business, shares the what and how of his seminar on mindfulness for Silicon Valley movers and shakers. Associate Professor of Psychology Gerdenio “Sonny” Manuel, S.J., and theologian Martha E. Stortz set things in motion with “A pilgrimage from suffering to solidarity: Walking the path of contemplative practices.”

Steven Boyd Saum

It takes an aunt


In Aunting: Cultural Practices That Sustain Family and Community Life (Baylor University Press, 2010), Associate Professor of Communication Laura Ellingson and co-author Patricia Sotirin offer a fresh angle on society’s changing definition of family—by looking at the ways in which aunts, mostly for better and occasionally for worse, affect the lives of their nephews and nieces. The authors leave few stones unturned as they look at aunts of all stripes: older and younger, loving and distant, traditional and outlaw. We meet aunts who are generational buffers, cultural and spiritual liaisons, keepers of family gossip, or simply warnings of “what not to become.” Of particular interest are the “calabash” or nonbiological aunts—some parents themselves and others childfree—who choose to enrich children’s lives and who are, in turn, enriched by them.

Ellen Orleans

Web Exclusive: Listen to an excerpt from Aunting, read by author Laura Ellingson.

So depressed

Epic Recession

Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression (Pluto Press, 2010), by SCU Lecturer in Economics Jack Rasmus, sets out to answer a few fundamental questions: How on earth did we get here? Where is this thing going? What in the world should be done? By way of background, he notes that real wages haven’t risen for the majority of Americans since 1973—a fact masked by low-interest loans that allowed folks to leverage the value of their homes. To fix things, Rasmus recommends ending tax breaks for the top 1 percent and restructuring the economy through “a job-creation program, nationalization of the mortgage and consumer credit marketing, new banking and tax structures, and a long-term redistribution of income through better healthcare and retirement systems.”

Jon Teel ’12

What becomes Venice

Becoming Venice

Renaissance Venice gave the world a remarkable and well-known artistic legacy. Less understood is the role that cittadini—the city’s wealthy, naturalized immigrants—played in commissioning the arts. Enter Becoming Venetian: Immigrants and the Arts in Early Modern Venice (Yale University Press, 2010) by Blake de Maria, a professor of art and art history who directs the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at SCU. Unique to Venetian society was the ability of foreigners to attain citizenship through a lengthy, often decade-spanning process that allowed immigrants to form social, personal, religious, and commercial relationships in the community. De Maria also captures the controversy surrounding some iconic works of art, such as Titian’s Annunciation in the Basilica of San Salvador: Criticized by contemporaries, it is now praised for its symbolic dramatic tension and effervescent quality.

Liz Carney ’11

How conservation happens in the real world

Conservation Science

Squaring the needs of nature and a human population approaching 7 billion is the subject of Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature (Roberts & Co., 2011), by Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier ’90. Their new textbook is also a how-to manual for a world where principles from economics and political science are as important to conservationists as those from ecology and population genetics. Kareiva and Marvier have 30-plus years of combined experience doing conservation work in the field. Kareiva, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, directs conservation science programs at Santa Clara; Marvier, a professor of biology and environmental studies at SCU, has advised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Nature Conservancy. They credit SCU students with helping shape their ideas here; two students, Corey Morris-Singer ’03 and Vasilissa Derugin ’05, contributed essays. The authors concede that their central theme—that “conservationists must look beyond national parks and other protected areas, where human activity is restricted, to human-altered areas and the benefits that nature offers to society”—is controversial. But they insist that we must “explore how conservation can protect nature, not from, but for people.”

First-Time Grads

Overcoming all odds due to the pandemic, the Class of ’24 finally get to experience the graduation that they have long been waiting for.

Drumroll, Please!

Santa Clara University’s renovated jazz studio gives music majors and non-majors more space to find their sound.

A Plan For Tomorrow

Santa Clara President Julie Sullivan unveils a new strategic plan, Impact 2030, with a focus on increasing access and opportunity, and, of course, SCU’s Jesuit values and Silicon Valley location.