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reed magazine logoSpring 2009


Beauty of the City: A.E. Doyle, Portland’s Architect

Philip Niles ’63

Oregon State University Press, 2008

Eden Within EdenIt’s hard to believe that legendary architect A.E. Doyle has not been profiled in a full-length biography before. In addition to his seminal work at Reed—he designed Eliot Hall, Old Dorm Block, Anna Mann, and the student union—he is also responsible for several landmark buildings in and around Portland, including the Meier & Frank building, the Central Library, and the Multnomah Falls Lodge. Doyle even designed Portland’s iconic “Benson Bubblers,” the bronze drinking fountains placed downtown to promote temperance. Now Doyle has finally received the attention he deserves. Philip Niles ’63, professor emeritus of history at Carleton College, pieces together Doyle’s life, from his humble beginnings as the son of an improvident carpenter to his rise to prominence as Portland’s most prolific architect. To reconstruct Doyle’s life, Philip uses an extensive amount of source material from Doyle’s colleagues and family as well as the Reed library. However, what is most interesting about Philip’s biography is how he uses Doyle and his architecture as a means to tell the story of Portland as a frontier city eager to gain an air of sophistication and a sense of history. Philip does an admirable job of demonstrating both the development of Doyle’s style and the transformation of the city’s landscape.

—Catherine Hinchliff ’10

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

Tamim Ansary ’70

PublicAffairs, 2009
The Turning Point

Destiny Disrupted recounts a history of the world that begins with the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and ends with the events of 9/11—seen through the lens of the Islamic world. “Until about 1600, the Western world and the Islamic world existed side by side with very little overlap except for the eastern shore of the Mediterranean,” Tamim told us over lunch the other day. “From Istanbul to India, the Muslim world had its own civilization, wars, and empires that rose and fell.” This rich, regulated, and powerful civilization viewed Europe as disorganized and unenlightened. Then, Tamim says, the momentum shifted. “The West threatened to obscure, even obliterate the Muslim world.” He gives credit to the cult of the individual as the mainspring for the shift of power. “At its core, Islam is about obedience to divine will, and Islamic culture revolves around the notion of a community that is egalitarian and just. It is not fundamentally an individual culture.” The fundamental differences in these societies are the source of conflicts even today—a “friction generated by two mismatched world histories intersecting.” Find out more at:

—Chris Lydgate ’90

Society of Others: Kinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place

Rupert Stasch ’91

former associate professor of anthropology
University of California Press, 2009
Our Noise

In Society of Others, Rupert studies the Korowai people, a small group in southern West Papua, Indonesia, who have become known as a stereotypical “primitive tribe” as a result of adventure tourism on the island. The Korowai are famous for both their hunter-gatherer tradition (although they also grow food) and their practice of cannibalism. Rather than defend the “tree people” and assert that they are just like us, Rupert instead argues that the Korowai people identify and express social relations through the quality of otherness. Rupert explores otherness and difference in his description of landownership and the patterns of living far apart, paired dyads, kinship and mourning. “For Korowai the crux of the social bond lies in the conjoining of mismatched relational qualities,” he explains. However, these social bonds are made in actions through a “disruption” or “violation” in a social relationship, which results in a transition from separateness to closeness or from belonging to estrangement. This book presents an intriguing argument against the assumption that shared experience is the basis for human relations in societies.

—Catherine Hinchliff ’10

José Enrique Rodó: Una Retórica para la Democracia
[José Enrique Rodó: A Rhetoric for Democracy]

Diego Alonso

associate professor of Spanish and Humanities
Ediciones Trilce, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2009.

Eden Within EdenA canonical and multi-faceted figure of Uruguayan literary and intellectual history, José Enrique Rodó (1872–1917) is at the center of a longstanding debate. The desire to understand his monumental legacy led Diego to examine his writings through a composite lens encompassing rhetoric, aesthetics, and politics, three categories that had not heretofore been brought together in the study of this author’s work. Diego questions those interpretations that dissociate Rodó’s modernist prose—his symbolically and euphonically rich language—from a practical function, and that deny their relevance to the political institutional domain. Contrarily, he contends that La Vida nueva [The New Life], a cycle which integrates some of Rodó’s most important essays, constitutes an ars retorica that seeks to redefine the language and practice of the political elites, while distancing itself from positivism and other forms of rationalism. From this perspective, the study illuminates Rodó’s formulation of a model of civic pedagogy directed at the public sphere, as well as his participation in the salient parliamentary debates of his time.

—Catherine Hinchliff ’10

The Gods of Reed

Amos Buchanan ’02

Amos Buchanan, 2009
Eden Within Eden

Set at Reed in the late 1980s, this mystery novel centers on a freshman named Caleb during his first few weeks on campus. Like most freshman, Caleb is both excited and unsure of his surroundings. He is also behind on the Iliad, as he labors under the mistaken impression that he must read the catalog of ships in its entirety. Unlike most freshman, however, Caleb has a series of vivid nightmares, in which he is warned of sinister events about to occur at Reed. The dreams usually end when Caleb falls out of bed. At the same time, a controversial, unpopular upperclassman named Tomaq agrees to protect Caleb in the name of Gaia and teaches the freshman martial arts. Even with Tomaq’s protection, however, Caleb’s dreams begin to “bleed into reality.” Amos’s descriptions of Commons food, the Student Union, and the physics sub-basement paint a picture of Reed familiar to most alumni, even if the supernatural plot is not. Find out more at

—Catherine Hinchliff ’10

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