Building Alpha Ralpha Boulevard

Cordwainer Smith’s novelette “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard” is a central component of his future history, marking the onset of the period he called the Rediscovery of Man. Though it has come to be regarded as a classic, the story’s title, the behavior and fate of its central characters, and its underlying autobiographical sources have all retained an air of mystery. This paper argues that in writing “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard” Smith confronted his feelings about his divorce from his first wife, stressed the value of simple human kindness in his treatment of others, and thereby dissolved a serious and years-long writer’s block.

Personal Account of a Depression Era Log Home Near Batesville, Arkansas

According to the editor of this article, “The following brief and informal account of the construction of, and life in, a Depression era log home erected near Batesville, (Independence County) Arkansas, in 1939 provides invaluable insights into the necessity-driven resurrection of a dying construction technique brought about by the financial conditions of those times.”

THE PERSONALITIES OF HENRY A. MURRAY

A central concept among Henry A. Murray’s theories is the idea of multiple components of personality—the global personality’s composition as a collection of subsystems, any one of which may become temporarily regnant. Intellectual and literary antecedents for this conceptualization can be identified, but Murray’s responsiveness to such ideas is likely to have had more personal origins. Certain aspects of his developmental history, including his relationships with significant others, his visual problems, and a rapid succession of occupational identities in his early career, appear to have sensitized him to theoretical and methodological issues neglected by theorists with dissimilar backgrounds.

The Crisis of Confidence in Social Psychology

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, many social psychologists appeared to have lost not only their enthusiasm but also their sense of direction and their faith in the discipline’s future. Whether they were experiencing an identity crisis, a paradigmatic crisis, or a crisis of confidence, most seemed to be agreed that a crisis was at hand. This paper, widely cited and discussed at the time, analyzed the sources of the crisis and proposed some remedies.

Starting The Elmsblog

Blog vs website — what’s the difference?

I’ve been working to set up starcraving.com (with Knox Bronson’s help) mainly as a website with stable categories and content that won’t change much over time. The WordPress format does that nicely. But I may also do occasional blogging, with brief comments that are not intended to stay online for long. For now, however, the Elmsblog will be used mainly to display temporarily here the essays, poems, recipes, etc., that wll also be assigned to particular categories and kept there indefinitely. 

Social Primatology (Social Psychology and Social Relevance, Chapter 2)

The howling monkeys of Barro Colorado Island are especially attractive to social psychologists because their natural social life is protected from the destruction that hunters have delivered to their mainland brothers and sisters. Since being made wards of the Smithsonian Institution early in the 20th Century, the BCI howlers have been protected from the whims of fortune and the attacks of human Panamanians. This chapter is partly a report of my observations of howlers in the summer of 1959, when I was part of a field research expedition headed by Professor C. Ray Carpenter of Penn State University, and partly a broad review of the research literature on the social life of howlers and other nonhuman primates up to the early 1970s.

Welcome!

Welcome to my home page. This is my personal website, as distinguished from my official university website, which is available…

Welcome to my home page. This is my personal website, as distinguished from my official university website, which is available at this address: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/LabsProfile/Elms/PWT/.

Here at starcraving. com, you’ll find a wide range of content. You’ll  be able to read or download portions of two of my previously published books, plus assorted articles and papers that are not readily available elsewhere. The books are long out of print, and the original publishers have turned the copyrights over to me. Some chapters in these books and papers are of historical interest at best. But I think other chapters contain ideas and observations that are still worth reading; otherwise I wouldn’t put them here. For instance, I’ve posted the chapter dealing with obedience to authority, Acts of Submission, from my 1972 book Social Psychology and Social Relevance. This material, based on my work with Stanley Milgram, is unfortunately quite relevant to current news about torture and prisoner abuse in Iraq and  Guantanamo and elsewhere, and to news about other kinds of obedience to destructive authority in various parts of the world.  Also included are parts of a family cookbook that I put together several years ago, with recipes that are still worth cooking, and an assortment of my poems (mostly sonnets).