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Human Library: Human Books 2017

2017 Human Library Books

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The Age of Disability: Insights from a Student on the Autism Spectrum


I will discuss disability in the 21st century and how disability is moving from a medical diagnosis to a cultural understanding. I am on the autism spectrum and see my own identity as a reflection of diversity.


An American Educator in Afghanistan


After graduating from college, I decided to move to Afghanistan despite never having left the U.S. Over the next five years, I worked and lived with Afghans in Kabul. During that time, I worked in several fields including education, law and development. During my time in Afghanistan, I helped found the country's first specialized university focused on international relations.  I look forward to sharing my varied experiences as an American in Afghanistan.


Experiences of an Iranian Woman


I was born and raised in a middle class family in Tehran. When people think of Iran, they may think of the nuclear program, terrorism, and extremist Muslims, or they may think of ancient Persia. However, there is a thriving underground life and culture in Tehran, under the administration of a conservative religious government. In addition to my story, I will share personal images and videos, encouraging readers to look into the multifaceted life of a young Iranian woman.


Finding My Home: Activism and Self-Discovery as a Disability Advocate


From Coimbatore, India to Rochester, NY, I traveled more in the first four years of my life than many travel in their entire life. I was born in India with a disability called arthrogryposis, which is the fusing of my joints. I was adopted at the age of three and a half by an American family, of which the mother had a disability. I didn't realize it at age four, but this woman would be the reason that I found my real home with the disability community and advocating for my brothers and sisters. My activism took me to places that I never dreamed of, from Boston to Utah to Japan, but ultimately led me to the meaning of my life.


From Syracuse, Sicily to Syracuse, New York


I believe that hard work is a key to success. I was born in a little town in Sicily (Italy), and moved with my family to Syracuse, New York; because my father believed that there was a better future here for us. As a 17-year-old, I was placed in first grade to learn English. After three months of grammar school and six months of high school just going to English language classes, I attended LeMoyne College and graduated cum laude. Then I went to Syracuse University for a master's program with a teaching assistantship, and my teaching career began.


Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Onondaga Culture


There are many traditions and cultures of the indigenous people whose ancestral lands are located here, on the shores of Onondaga Lake, where this land's first democracy was forged. That history is still alive today in the people of Onondaga, the people of the hills. This is our land, and this is our story. I am a traditional member of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan, and the youngest son of one of the 14 chiefs at Onondaga. I am the former assistant director of the SU Native Student Program at the Office of Multicultural Affairs and head coach for the Netherlands National Lacrosse team, and currently a PhD Student at the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications with media experience including film and documentary work portraying Native people.


An International Student's Journey from Central Asia to Syracuse


Being an international student is an adventure that comes with a price. It takes courage and inner strength for people to embark on this journey, adjust to a new place, and thrive in a new academic culture. During my time in Syracuse, I have learned much about the U.S. by exploring different areas, interacting with U.S. and other international students, and finding mentors from unexpected places. At the same time, as a student from Kazakhstan, I have helped teach others about my home country by sharing my personal experiences. I look forward to discussing my international journey from living in Kazakhstan to coming to Syracuse.


Perseverance, Determination, and Success: The Trials and Tribulations of a Lower Class Southern Kid


Some may assume that I’m a privileged middle-class citizen. However, I was never granted anything in life. This is the story of my painful past, showing that anything is possible. Believing in opportunity and success saved my life, and I am proud to be given the opportunity to share my story with you.


Portuguese History and Culture: Stories from a First-Generation Portuguese-American


As part of the first generation of my family to be born in the United States, my siblings and I were raised a little differently than “typical American children” may experience. Both my mother and father were born in Portugal, a country that is part of the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe. They emigrated to the United States over 30 years ago, and I was fortunate enough to grow up learning about my heritage - the language, the food, the customs, and the history. Not many people know about this small yet influential country. My story will provide readers an engaging opportunity to learn about my experience and Portugal’s rich history and culture.


Stories of Hope, Struggle, and Interactions: Living Experiences through an Anthropological Lens


Time and place have interesting ways of impacting lives. Being a South Asian Muslim female, marked as a person of color in the local socio-political mapping, my life in the U.S. has taken interesting turns and tw​ists since the mid-nineties in terms of how I have navigated my identity. The events of 9/11 and the cultural climate that followed in the country added its own layers affecting my stories, interactions, identity, journeys, and scholarship. As a cultural anthropologist by training, I found having an anthropological lens helped immensely to understand the events around me through a holistic perspective.


Suicide and Mental Health


In 2011, I lost my younger sister to suicide. Around that time, I recognized that I needed to seek out help for my depression and anxiety. Since then, I have been very vocal in regards to mental health issues and awareness, fighting the stigma against those suffering from mental health issues and being as open about my own experiences as possible.


Telling the Untold Story


For several years, I was the post-production supervisor for the PBS current affairs documentary series, Frontline. During this time, the series gained renewed recognition for its quick and comprehensive response to the events leading up to, during, and after 9/11. I will discuss my personal experience engaged in the various stages of production, including how I helped craft Frontline’s collected materials and interviews into a compelling form of storytelling, addressing both the ambitious goals of the show's producers and the rigorous expectations of public television.


Third Culture Kid


Born in a small city in China, my family and I moved temporarily to Canada for three years when I was five years old. After gaining citizenship, we returned to China. I grew up in Shanghai and graduated from one of many international high schools. I would like to share with you what it feels like to hesitate when answering the question "where are you from?", to be living out of a suitcase and constantly on the move at the end of each semester, and to miss home, wherever that may be.


You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover


Often written off, and increasingly marginalized as out of date, the book and bookbinding can take many forms, and is far from a lost and dying art. This book will discuss traditional hand-bookbinding and some of the more innovative directions it can take, illustrated by examples from its collection and tools. Discussion can also include the bright future of the book in the digital age. More than a little dog-eared, this book was conceptualized as a work-study student in book repair during college and moved to Germany for training as a bookbinder and conservator following a very rigid guild-based apprenticeship model. After its return, it worked as a bookbinder and conservator in private practices and at research libraries in the U.S., establishing the conservation lab at Syracuse. Its bound offspring have been exhibited widely, and it has written tutorials and related materials based on the German techniques it learned and continues to apply.