Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dr. Luchen Li Receives Ditsky Award for Steinbeck Research at Ball State University Libraries

Through the generosity of donors, the Ball State University Libraries provide opportunities for students and scholars to advance their education and research. An outstanding example is the Steinbeck Research Fund in Honor of Dr. John M. Ditsky that was established by his wife, Mrs. C. Suzette Ditsky of Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Luchen Li is this year’s recipient of the Ditsky Award. He will visit the University Libraries during the week of September 29 through October 3, 2008 to conduct intensive research on Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, using the Steinbeck Collection in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.

Dr. Li is Associate Professor of Humanities and Communication and Director of the Office of International Programs at Kettering University, Flint, Michigan. He has authored numerous Steinbeck-related publications, including A Critical Companion to John Steinbeck (co-authored with Geoffrey Schutz) and John Steinbeck: A Documentary Volume. He serves as Vice President of the International Programs for the John Steinbeck Society of America.

The topic of Dr. Li’s research is the ethical dimensions of John Steinbeck’s world. Examining Steinbeck’s works, he will focus on the author’s personal ethics and societal ethics concerning business, war, politics, and ethnicity. He will research how Steinbeck offers “a unique set of moral discourses – novels, novelettes, short stories, plays, scripts, and essays – that have helped define much of our own American ethics while providing contemporary insight for negotiating our moral responsibilities to our own fellow human beings, society, and environment.”

The Steinbeck Research Fund established by Mrs. Ditsky in honor of her late husband is intended to assist and encourage emerging Steinbeck visiting scholars and/or doctoral candidates in conducting research in Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections on an appropriate topic related to author John Steinbeck.

Dr. John Michael Ditsky (March 9, 1938 – May 15, 2006) was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He was a world-renowned Steinbeck scholar, Vice President of the International Steinbeck Society, President of the New Steinbeck Society of America, a poet and poetry editor, a music critic, and Chair of the Editorial Board of the Steinbeck Quarterly.

Dr. and Mrs. Ditsky were long-time friends and colleagues of noted Steinbeck scholar and Ball State University professor Dr. Tetsumaro Hayashi who was instrumental in establishing the outstanding Steinbeck Collection in the University Libraries. Mrs. Ditsky recently donated her husband’s papers and books to Archives and Special Collections to augment and strengthen the Steinbeck Collection.

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