Latest Reads from UNC Asheville Faculty

The Last Ballad

by Wiley Cash ’00, UNC Asheville Writer-In-Residence
Morrow, 2017

The Last Ballad, which is based on true events, tells the story of Ella May Wiggins, a young, single mother who’s swept up in the struggle for more humane wages, conditions and work hours for herself and other textile workers. I tried to capture the particular historical moment when gender, race, class, and politics converged in a violent storm that spelled tragedy for anyone willing to take a stand for equality and individual rights…. It may be 2017, but 1929 is not far behind us. These are the kinds of issues that were discussed in my Southern Literature course at UNC Asheville and in classrooms across this campus.”

An Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

by Daniel S. Pierce, Professor of History, and Joel and Nathan Anderson of Anderson Design Group
Anderson Design Group, 2017

“For this book, I worked with a guy who was actually an old friend who I’d lost touch with, Joel Anderson. He’s a poster artist in Nashville and in the last few years he and his son Nathan have been doing national park posters. I brought him to campus last year during the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and while he was here he asked me if I wanted to work with him on this book. I did most of the text in the book while his group designed the 40 posters. I’ve worked on a lot of books but honestly, I think this has been the most fun. I try to explain to my wife that I’m actually working when I’m hiking or trout fishing, or taking trips across the country to California.”

The Rhetoric of Humor: A Bedford Spotlight Reader

by Kirk Boyle, Assistant Professor of English
Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016

“I was interested in how humor can be a way to persuade people of opposing positions—that it might be a way to bridge gaps and at least help people understand where you’re coming from. If you’re laughing with somebody, you’re connecting with them on some level. You might have completely different value systems but if you find yourself laughing you might be able to recognize that you’re actually not that different. Plus, how do you trick first-years into writing academically? Well, maybe humor and laughter can do that.”

Love Nailed to the Doorpost

by Richard Chess, Chair and Professor of English
University of Tampa Press, 2017

“The book is a collection of my own poems and lyrical prose that aren’t necessarily unified around one theme. One of the reasons I started writing poetry a long time ago, when I was in my late teens, was because of a poem I had read that perfectly articulated a feeling I had felt inside that I couldn’t put into words myself. When I read this poem, it made me feel less lonely, less isolated. It made me feel connected to another human being through words. Really, I just want to be able to do that for someone else.”

The Democratic Constitution: Experimentalism and Interpretation

by Brian E. Butler, Professor of Philosophy
Chicago University Press, 2017

“The book emphasizes an experimental and populist picture of the Constitution—the Constitution as the people’s document rather than a legal document. Start with the idea that the Constitution was not a set of game rules. It was an experiment in government. It was radically democratic, and that’s how we should interpret it. We should not let democracy be ruled by a bunch of attorneys that think this is the way things should be. In fact, the people should be consistently reinterpreting the Constitution. The end game being that we’re ruled by the people.”

Human Rights in Democracies

by Peter Haschke, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Routledge, 2017

“I try to show that human rights violations (e.g., abuses such as torture or killings perpetrated by agents of the state) are much more common in democratic contexts than people think—and it is not just the Irans, Syrias and the North Koreas of the world where citizens suffer abuses by their governments. Showing that democracies are not immune to violations of basic human rights is of course troubling because democracy has traditionally been heralded as the solution to government abuse. Much of the book then is devoted to an attempt to explain why and when human rights might be violated in democratic contexts.”

Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita: A Contemporary Introduction

by Keya Maitra, Chair and Professor of Philosophy
Bloomsbury, March 2018 (forthcoming)

“My book is on the Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, which was originally written in Sanskrit. In my philosophy classes, I had always wanted a translation of the text that was both accessible to my students in Western classrooms, and that captured some of the nuances of the Sanskrit. That’s why I’ve created this translation... I’m pointing out possible moments of involvement and interaction with the Western audience about questions of metaphysics, questions of epistemology, typical questions that philosophers would be interested in.”

Philosophical Reflections on Mothering in Trauma

by Melissa Burchard, Professor of Philosophy
Routledge, 2018 (forthcoming)

“The book is on trauma and what it is that philosophy needs to learn from the way that trauma affects people’s perspectives. It’s the idea that bodies make a difference, and the kind of body you’re in really affects the way that you will experience the world. So, for instance, take the idea of rationality. Philosophy has wanted to say for some time that rational, ‘good’ thinking is always the same for everyone. But, people who have been significantly traumatized may or may not think like that at all. The world that they are in is significantly not the same world.”