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Professor sends books to Katrina-ravaged college

June 13, 2006

Photo of Jim Quesada packing a box of books to be sent to Tulane UniversityWhen Anthropology Department Chair Jim Quesada learned about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on Tulane University's Anthropology Department, he decided to take action.

Quesada contacted the Southwestern Anthropological Association to offer SF State as a clearinghouse for book donations from anthropology departments throughout the southwestern United States. Many professors nearing retirement -- from such institutions as Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; and Sonoma State University -- viewed this as a wonderful opportunity to donate their books, Quesada said.

Tulane has received 242 books, all anthropological, as a result of Quesada's efforts.

"Our feelings of desolation and abandonment ... are warmly countered by the concern, aid and solidarity of those like Dr. Quesada, the Southwestern Anthropological Association, San Francisco State University, other anthropologists and unknown friends around the country," said Judith Maxwell, chair of Tulane's Anthropology Department.

After hearing Maxwell speak at SF State's Katrina Teach-In in November, Quesada learned that the university's entire Anthropology building, which sits in a low-lying area of the campus, was completely flooded and inaccessible for more than a month. All records and books were destroyed.

"Good teach-ins always have an action component," Quesada said. "It's just not enough to talk to one another and do consciousness-raising."

Tulane University, located in New Orleans, is a private research institution with more than 10,000 students. Tulane's primary Katrina-related losses resulted from severe mold-infestations due to standing water, heat and humidity.

Quesada's office was used to store most of the books; College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dean Joel Kassiola provided funding for the shipping costs to New Orleans.

--Student Writer Lisa Rau with Matt Itelson


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Last modified June 13, 2006 by University Communications