Please join us on Wednesday July 7 from noon–1pm for a virtual book launch of Oil Palm: A Global History (UNC Press) by Jonathan E. Robins (Associate Professor of History, Department of Social Sciences).
Oil palms are everywhere—grown in nearly every tropical country, they supply the world with more edible fat than any other plant and play a role in scores of packaged products, from lipstick and soap to margarine and cookies. And as Robins shows in this new book, sweeping social transformations carried the plant around the planet. First brought to the global stage in the holds of slave ships, palm oil became a quintessential commodity in the Industrial Revolution. Imperialists hungry for cheap fat subjugated Africa’s oil palm landscapes and the people who worked them. In the twentieth century, the World Bank promulgated oil palm agriculture as a panacea to rural development in Southeast Asia and across the tropics. As plantation companies tore into rainforests, evicting farmers in the name of progress, the oil palm continued its rise to dominance, sparking new controversies over trade, land and labor rights, human health, and the environment.
In this talk, Robins will provide an overview of the book and discuss his research process, which took him to archives and four continents—and finally back to historic collections on the shelves of Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library.
A small independent bookstore in downtown Marquette, MI. From Avatar627 at TripAdvisor says, “Everything a bookstore should be: cozy, inspiring, welcoming. It was hard not to pick up books to browse but the staff recommendations guided me to two excellent purchases. Staff very personable and clearly love books. If you’re a booklover in Marquette, don’t miss this place!!”
Due to Michigan Tech suspending all in-person classes from now until April 17 and MTU Events asking all event planners to seriously reconsider holding their events virtually (not an option for a book sale) or cancelling, it has been decided to cancel the friends of the Library book sale scheduled for April 2-3, at least for now. As things evolve, we will look into holding it sometime in late or April or May, or even in the fall.
We wish you all good health and good reading in this time of social distancing.
Mary Doria Russell,award-winning author of The Sparrow, Children of God, A Thread of Grace, Dreamers of the Day, Doc, and Epitaph (see her Wikipedia entry here and her own webpage here), has published a new novel, The Women of the Copper Country (Simon and Schuster, 2019). She will be visiting the Copper Country to promote the book on October 8-9.
Her research on the book was facilitated by the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Historical National Park archives, and numbers local historians and her visit to Michigan Tech and PLDL is supported by a grant from the Friends of Michigan Tech Libraries.
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, she will give a talk at Michigan Tech and Wednesday Oct. 9 at the Portage Lake District Library (PLDL) in downtown Houghton. She will address the writing and research process for historical novels in the first presentation, and do a regular book reading at the second. We believe that books will be available and she will do a signing at both talks.
Both events will be open to the public and free to attend. More details will be forthcoming shortly with location and specific times.
The 2019 book sale was a great success this last Thursday and Friday, netting over $3000 for the library. Thanks to all out volunteers who helped stet up and sort books on to the tables on Thursday afternoon and especially to those who helped break down what was left at the end of the day on Friday. Sales were up over last year and it was great to see so many students throughout the day on Friday.