Monmouth College classics professor Tom Sienkewicz is one of the editors of “The Power of Place: A Festschrift for Janet Goodhue Smith.” Smith recently retired as director of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s programs in Florence, a post she held for almost 40 years.
The co-editor of the festschrift – which is a book honoring a respected person that is presented during his or her lifetime – is Timothy Chasson, professor of art history at Grinnell College.
“Anyone who worked with Janet Smith in Florence, not only students, but visiting ACM faculty, learned an immense deal about the city of Florence and the Renaissance,” said Sienkewicz. “In addition to honoring Janet, Tim Chasson and I hope that this volume of essays will be a significant contribution to the history of Florence and its art history, as well as a useful tool for anyone thinking about teaching on site off-campus.”
MC faculty members who worked with Smith in Florence included Sienkewicz, Virginia Hellenga Charles Speel and Bill Urban. Sienkewicz and Urban both contributed essays to the festschrift – “Teaching Hercules in Florence” and “When ‘The Wild West’ Went to Florence” respectively.
Two MC alumni who studied under Smith in – Robert Grafsgaard ’10 and Sylvia Zethmayr Shults ’90 – also contributed to the festschrift, and so did Sienkewicz’s daughter, Julia, who “learned a lot from Janet while we lived in Florence in 1992-93,” said Sienkewicz. “She is probably an art historian today because of Janet.”
In all, the festschrift contains 26 essays on art history, the city of Florence, Italian politics, and literature and literary criticism, including creative writing. It was funded by a Mellon FaCE grant through the ACM.
“In conjunction with the publication of this festschrift, there was a conference at Ripon College about teaching on site,” said Sienkewicz.
Copies were distributed not only to contributors but also to all ACM libraries and to the university libraries in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado (the states which have ACM member colleges).