Books in Brief, Feb. 3, 2011
Joan DelFattore
The cover of Wendy Bellion's Citizen Spectator.


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9:07 a.m., Feb. 3, 2011----Books in Brief is a roundup of recent books by University of Delaware faculty, staff and alumni.

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Joan DelFattore, professor of English and legal studies, is the author of Knowledge in the Making: Academic Freedom and Free Speech in America's Schools and Universities, published by Yale University Press. The book explores such questions as how free students and teachers are to express unpopular ideas in public schools and universities, what rights they have to disagree with those ideas and what schools should teach when expert findings and popular beliefs conflict. Although K-12 schools and universities represent different situations, DelFattore encourages a discussion of these issues that looks at the entire public-education system.

Wendy Bellion, associate professor of art history, is the author of Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America, which explores illusionistic art and objects in the United States between 1790 and 1825 and focuses on the Peale family, founders of the Philadelphia Museum. Calling the book “eye-opening, original and provocative,” Joseph Roach of Yale University wrote that Bellion shows how “a fascination for optical illusions in art and science tested Americans' ability to discern authenticity from deception.” The book is by the University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Laureen A. Labar, who earned her master's degree in 2000 through the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, is co-author, with Bruce J. Bourque, of Uncommon Threads: Wabanaki Textiles, Clothing, and Costume, published in 2009 by the Maine State Museum and recent winner of the 2010 Textile Society of America's R.L. Shep Prize. The book celebrates the textile arts of the Wabanakis, the indigenous people living on the Maritime Peninsula, the U.S.-Canadian region between the gulfs of St. Lawrence and Maine. Labar is chief curator of history and decorative arts at the Maine State Museum.