Pop Culture Series: 75 Years of Wonder Woman

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By Lauren Fralinger, Lauren and Research Services

They’re often called the “trinity” in comic book circles: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Over the past 75 years, we have seen Superman and Batman on screen in many incarnations, each portrayal adding a bit more history to the character. 2016 has brought us only our second live portrayal of Wonder Woman, and though audiences haven’t seen her as frequently, that is about to change. Celebrating her 75th anniversary in 2016, Wonder Woman is a feminist pop culture icon whose legacy has endured nearly a century.

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Wonder Woman appears on the first issue of Sensation Comics (1942). Art by H. G. Peter.

Debuting in 1941 in All Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman was one of the earliest female superheroes to make it into print. Developed by William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman was created to be a different kind of superhero. Still in their early days, superhero comics were dominated by powerful, almost exclusively male heroes who used physical strength or technology to win their battles. In contrast, Marston wanted to create a superhero who won not through the strength of their fists, but also through love. It was Marston’s wife Elizabeth who suggested that this new superhero be a woman.

Wonder Woman’s origins are steeped in Greek mythology. Born as Diana, Princess of the Amazons, she was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta and imbued with powers from several Olympian goddesses. Withdrawn from the world and protected by the gods, the Amazons lived in isolation on a hidden island until it was accidentally discovered by an American intelligence officer whose plane crashed there during World War II. Selected to bring the man back to “Man’s World” and to join the fight against the Nazis, Diana was gifted a pair of magical, bulletproof bracelets and a lasso of truth, which forces honesty from anyone it captures. Wonder Woman quickly joined the war alongside other early superheroes and served on the Justice Society of America, one of the first superhero teams.

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Lynda Carter (left) first portrayed Wonder Woman on screen in the 1970s. Gal Godot (right) will take on the role in the 2017 series.

Over the course of 75 years, Wonder Woman has gone through dozens of incarnations in the comics as writers and stories have come and gone. Acknowledged early on as one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Comics stable, Wonder Woman went through a strange period in the late sixties and early seventies where her powers were taken from her entirely. Dismayed that one of the most recognizable and powerful women in pop culture was no longer able to compete on the same field as her super powered male counterparts, Gloria Steinem placed Wonder Woman on the cover of the inaugural issue of her new magazine, Ms., and criticized the decision to strip away everything that made Diana so empowered. A year later, Wonder Woman had her bracelets, lasso and superpowers returned, and was back in full fighting form.

Diana’s first on-screen portrayal was made by Lynda Carter in the 1970s Wonder Woman television series. Airing from 1975 to 1979 during the peak of the second-wave feminist movement, Wonder Woman presented a powerful, intelligent, and deeply human woman capable of extraordinary abilities to American audiences. Decades after the end of the 1970s series, Wonder Woman made appearances in various animated series such as Justice League and Justice League Unlimited in the early 2000s, but was not portrayed live again until 2016’s Batman vs. Superman. Though Batman and Superman both made the jump to the movies decades earlier, Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Amazon princess was the first time Wonder Woman had made it into theaters. Batman vs. Superman may have been her first silver screen appearance, but it won’t be her last; Gadot will reprise her role as Diana for 2017’s Wonder Woman.

Interested in more Wonder Woman? The Richter Library has you covered. Check out more books and comics about the adventures of the Amazon Princess here:

Books:

Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 Years (2016)

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine (2014)

Wonder Woman (2012)

Wonder Woman ‘77 (2016)

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman (2015)

Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told (2006)

Wonder Woman: Earth One (2016)

 

DVDs:

Wonder Woman: The Complete First Season (2004)

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2012)

 



New Directions Conference Explores Cuban Heritage Collection Treasures

By Bárbara Gutiérrez, UM News

Lydia Cabrera was the Margaret Mead of Cuba. The Havana-born, Paris-educated anthropologist and literary figure was an authority on Santería and other Afro-Cuban religions, earning the trust and respect of its practitioners.

Cabrera, who died in Miami in 1991, left a precious treasure trove to the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection that served as the centerpiece for the first discussion at the New Directions in Cuban Studies Conference held October 20 and 21 at the Donna E. Shalala Center.

The conference, sponsored by the CHC and the Miami Institute for the Americas (MIA), highlighted the works of top academics, many of whom have used the CHC for research.

In its second rendition, New Directions featured 21 scholars who presented their research papers on topics ranging from “Making Ends Meet: Women’s Small-Scale, Home based Informal Employment in Post-Soviet Cuba” to “The Symbolic Century XIX in Cuban Literature after 1959.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this event and showcase the work of emerging scholars in Cuban studies,” said Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman in his welcoming remarks. “This event represents our essential mission as a library, that of supporting education and personal development through research, collaboration, and inspiring discussion.”

Felicia Knaul, director of MIA, also welcomed the audience, saying that she found the CHC to be a space that “evokes leadership and thought around key issues.” She added that the University and MIA have a “commitment to identify ways that through academia, learning and policy discussions ways can be found that lead to peace, to knowledge and better access for the many in our world to economic development here and in the future.”

During the first panel, three scholars presented “The Ontology of Lydia Cabrera’s Archive: Sexuality and the Spirit” by delving into how the noted ethnographer explored and developed images of queer, feminist, and non-traditional roles in her writings about Santeria, the African religion brought over to Cuba by African slaves.

Sarah Piña, a doctoral candidate at University of Houston who studied the Lydia Cabrera Papers as a Goizueta fellow at CHC, said that although Cabrera never openly revealed her identity as a feminist or a lesbian, she was drawn to issues of the marginalized of Cuba society, such as blacks and queer elements within the Santeria religion, a religion that gave access to the LGBTQ communities.

There was ample evidence of this in her books, including the seminal El Monte and Yemayá y Ochun, said Piña. Cabrera also kept many notebooks on the role of women Santeras.

Cabrera also seemed to have a great identification with Yemayá, the mother goddess, who was said to protect homosexuals, Piña explained. In Cabrera’s personal papers, documents, diaries, and even recipe cards, she often wrote the name of the deity in the margins. She also often used the name jicotea (turtle), even signing letters to friends with the name Jicotea Lydia. The jicotea is one of very few animals who have an androgynous nature, said Piña.

Martin Tsang, a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Miami Libraries, offered a bold take on the Afro-Cuban orisha, or deity, Inle, considered both a wise medical healer and a protector of the queer.

In the Santeria religion, Inle is associated with the Catholic saint San Rafael, whose feast falls on October 24. Tsang pointed out that Cabrera wrote in El Monte about a group of lesbian santeras who had Inle as their patron deity. On his feast day, they would burn a straw fish (one of his symbols) in his honor and sell “tortillas de San Rafael” on the streets around Havana’s La Loma del Angel neighborhood. Tsang believes that the term tortillera, commonly used by Cubans to describe lesbians, may have stemmed from that practice.

The two-day conference, last held in 2014, was attended by about 300 people and concluded with a special event at HistoryMiami Museum. Dean Eckman noted that financial support for the conference came in large part from the 1-year-old Goizueta Graduate Research Fellows Program.



Goizueta Fellows: In Their Own Words

Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year the Cuban Heritage Collection is welcoming ten emerging scholars into the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program. We are proud to introduce each of our 2016-2017 Goizueta Fellows throughout the course of the program.
Our sixth fellow of the series, Samuel Finesurrey, will discuss his work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Wednesday, November 2, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About Samuel Finesurrey

Goizueta Fellow Samuel Finesurrey

Goizueta Fellow Samuel Finesurrey is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

New Jersey native Samuel Finesurrey has always loved history. He attended University of Wisconsin as an undergrad and previously worked as a high school teaching Intern in New York City.

What university/program are you from?

I’m a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What are you working on?

My dissertation is on Cuba’s Anglo-American Colony during the 1950s.

What do you expect to find at CHC?

The CHC is home to wonderful collections of Anglo-American-run cultural institutions, Anglo-American-managed corporations, and donations from members of the Anglo-American community.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on November 2, 3 p.m., at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. You can contact me at finesurrey@gmail.com.

*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at chc@miami.edu for more information.



DVD Picks: Funny Halloween Movies

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

Some people like to watch scary movies at Halloween, but some of us like to laugh. So here’s a list of movies that have plenty of spooks and monsters but are unlikely to give you nightmares.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

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In a world that has become overrun with zombies, two men must figure out how to survive. Wimpy Columbus is afraid of his own shadow, while Tallahassee is the biggest, baddest, gun-toting zombie-slayer who ever lived. When they meet two sisters, Wichita and Little Rock, the four strike out for an amusement park that is said to be zombie-free. This mismatched group will have to rely on each other to survive, which could be worse than surrendering to the zombies.

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When three college professors lose their jobs, they decide to go into the freelance “paranormal investigation and elimination” business. When ghosts go on a rampage, only these men can save the world. Soon every spook in the city is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge. Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!

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David and Jack are two American youths who just want to see a bit of Europe. A trek across the moors of northern England leads to an attack by a werewolf. Jack is killed, but returns as an undead corpse to warn David that he, too, will morph into a werewolf when the full moon rises.

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The story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, who decides to bring the magic of Christmas back to Halloween Town.

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When flesh eating zombies go on the hunt for a bite to eat, it is up to Shaun and his best pal to save their friends and family from becoming the next entree.

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A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

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A couple of likable ghosts contact the afterlife’s bio-exorcist to rid their home of a trendy New York family that moves in.

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Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.

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And one more time: Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, four women band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

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Summoned by a will to his late grandfather’s castle in Transylvania, young Dr. Frankenstein soon discovers the scientist’s step-by-step manual explaining how to bring a corpse to life. Assisted by the hunchbacked Igor and the curvaceous Inga, he creates a monster who only wants to be loved.

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Sidelined after their spectacular save of New York City five years ago, the heroes of the hereafter once again answer the call when an underground river of ghoulish goo threatens to rot the Big Apple to the core.

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Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.



Camner Family Donates Rare Musical Treasures

University of Miami Trustee Alfred Camner, his wife, Anne Camner, and their four children, all of whom are UM alumni, have made a donation to the University of rare and valuable scores composed by musical giants—from Beethoven to Gershwin—that were printed and bound during the composers’ lives.

Alfred, J.D. ’69, and Anne, J.D. ’72, along with children Danielle Camner Lindholm J.D. ’95, Errin Camner L.L.M. ’99, Lauren Camner Winter M.B.A. ’98, and Andrew Camner B.A. ’09, donated several hundred scores, collectively forming the Camner Family Music Collection, to the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center at the Frost School of Music, where it will be available to UM students, researchers, and the public.

“It is our family’s desire that this collection of first and early printed music editions form the true start to creating an extraordinary musicological resource, unmatched by modern editions,” said Alfred Camner, who, with his wife, also endowed UM’s Camner Center for Academic Resources.

The collection features historical works spanning three centuries and with origins in many parts of the world. Collection materials include rare lithography-printed and leather-bound editions of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Alceste (1767), Georges Bizet’s Carmen (1875), and Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913), among many others published between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Shelton Berg, dean of the Frost School, calls the gift a “transformative” resource for members of the Frost School and beyond. “When we look at a recently published score of a musical work from 100 years ago or more, we are seeing the music as something ‘from the past,’” Berg says. “Conversely, when a student performer or researcher examines an original edition score, with the marginal notations, the music is suddenly ‘in the present.’ They are experiencing it in the time of its creation. It’s hard to describe the exhilaration that produces.”

The Camner Collection arrives as the University is preparing to carry out new initiatives supporting educational innovation and encouraging new pedagogical approaches in the classroom. Frank Cooper, research professor emeritus at the Frost School, says this timing is important. “In an age where electronic media have taken over, there are no research materials to compare to original objects, in this case, printed scores from the times of the composers themselves. How invaluable for researchers today and for many generations to come.”

In details such as marginal notations, Camner says, the collection reveals how scores were studied and used in practice, in concerts, and in opera houses through time. Additionally, notes may point to how the music has evolved. “There is no substitute for the feeling a scholar or music student gets from handling a score that might have been used by Beethoven or Verdi or Puccini or Stravinsky, scores published in their lifetimes, edited by them, and often later corrected or changed,” Camner says. “These first and early editions are the closest we get to a sense of the time and place and world of the composer, a time when the composers often depended on the sales of these scores for their livelihoods.”

Nancy Zavac, who heads the Weeks Music Library, says that the Camner Collection brings a new level of research prestige to the library, which houses a wide range of musicology resources, including modern books, journals, and recordings, as well as unique and distinctive materials. “All music librarians are eager to have treasures in their collections. The Camner Collection is such a thing. It is exciting for me and my staff to care for, and greatly enhances our holdings.”

Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman expressed deep gratitude to the Camner Family for donating this important collection. “Miami is notable for the presence of several individual collectors of rare and unique cultural and bibliographic treasures,” he said. “The Camner Family is to be commended for their appreciation of the scholarly and teaching value of this private collection, and we celebrate their generosity of spirit in enabling the exposure and application this collection will have at the University of Miami for current and future generations of researchers and students.”