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Books by Concordians -- "fruit," feminism, film

 

 

* Thomas Waugh has published The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writings on Queer Cinema (Duke University Press).

Waugh is a former film journalist and a longtime academic in Concordia's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. He has established popular courses on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and sexual identity, and wrote a previous book, Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall.

He starts this collection of essays, which were originally published in gay tabloids, academic journals and anthologies, with a disarmingly personal introduction:

"My father and grandfather were preachers, and my brother followed in their footsteps. My mother and grandmother were teachers. When I reread these texts that I've produced with such monastic single-mindedness over the last two decades, I think the moral fervour and didactic bent might be in my genes. . . In the classroom, however, I seldom subject my students to moral uplift; rather I think I'm known for listening to every side."

Waugh goes on to explain the Canadian in-joke of the title to his American readers, calling it a reference to "our Monty Pythonesque national history.

"In the late fifties and early sixties our very own Mounties, ever conscious of security threats, had commissioned research into mechanical devices for detecting homosexuality, inspired by similar research in the States, where McCarthyism and the sex panics had created a market for such paranoid and lunatic pseudoscience. The idea was to unmask perverts by measuring involuntary pupilary dilations and other physiological reactions to pictures and words. [It was] dubbed 'the fruit machine' by terrified straight Mounties who didn't want to be the guinea pigs."

* There are two more books by Concordia authors on this general subject. Ross Higgins, a part-time instructor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, recently published a book on the emergence of the Montreal community, De la ClandestinitŽ ˆ l'affirmation (Diffusion Prologue).

Donald Boisvert, Dean of Students and a scholar of religious studies, will soon publish his first book, Out on Holy Ground: Meditations on Gay Men's Spirituality (Pilgrim Press).

* On March 21, the Simone de Beauvoir Institute launched its annual review. The latest edition, called Heritage In-Situ, celebrates the 20th anniversary, in 1998, of the Institute, and the 50th anniversary, in 1999, of the publication of de Beauvoir's groundbreaking polemic on feminism, Le Deuxime Sexe.

The review includes essays by Concordia women's studies scholars on the Institute, on women's studies, and on the work of de Beauvoir herself.

In her introduction, editor Anna Alexander has a little fun with the location of the women's studies centre, in an old residence on Bishop St. In the 1970s, it was a bar called Chez Madame Arthur: "Pussy Galore, the infamous erotic massage parlour that predated this bar, is rumoured to account for the peculiar architecture and red light shining in the principal's office."

* Lonergan College, the interdisciplinary humanities centre on Loyola Campus, launched its latest review, Canada's Film Century: Traditions, Transitions, Transcendence, on Tuesday. It is based on Lonergan's 1996-97 focus on Contexts of Canadian Cinema.

* Communication Studies Professors Bill Buxton and Charles R. Acland have co-edited a volume called Harold Innis in the New Century: Reflections and Refractions. It was published in 1999 by McGill-Queen's Press, and has just been released in paperback. It was based on a conference they organized in 1994 at Concordia celebrating the centenary of Innis's birth.


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