Kathy Giuffre was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas where her family goes back at least five generations. She received a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently lives in Colorado Springs where she is the A.E. and Ethel Irene Professor of Social Sciences at Colorado College, specializing in the study of creativity.
The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato
"By turns rollicking and introspective, The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato satisfies on many levels. Giuffre choreographs the narrative skillfully, luring us into Waterville's seamy, steamy (and delicious) underbelly, then making us fall in love with everyone there. Real people, in a real place, with real struggles, and a hefty dollop of the mystical: what more could you ask for in a novel?" — Steven Sherrill, author of The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break and Joy, Pa.
"Kathy Giuffre's luminous debut novel reads like a bluesy love song let loose upon a warm summer night. `Maybe Fate is what we call the lives we make for ourselves when we're trying to make sense of what we did,' one character muses. Lusty, tender, and philosophical, The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato characterizes not only a community of nobody musicians, barflies, poets, and dreamers who hang out at a local bar in a small Southern college town, but a more innocent pre-9/11, predigital age, when books and conversations, music, drink, romance, and kindness matter most. This is the most refreshing and wise coming-of age story that I've read in a very long time." — Marianne Gingher, author of A Girl's Life: Horses, Boys, Weddings & Luck and Adventures in Pen Land
"In The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato, sociologist Kathy
Giuffre explores a dive-bar subculture filled with lovable misfits
who, with a little help from Plato, lead a lost young woman from
darkness into light. This cocktail of equal parts philosophy, humor,
and powerful storytelling serves up an intoxicating exploration of
found family, friendship, and community in small-town America."
— Pamela Duncan, author of Moon Women
"There really is a bar called 'the Cave' in a small college town in North Carolina. And in the middle of the chiseled-out hallway between the barroom and the pool room is the center of the universe. The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato is a story of being shackled, being set free, and seeing the infinite opportunities of light. The saga takes place in every town and every cave in the world. This is a delightful, eye-opening tale." — Mouse Mock, Bookseller,
"A young woman living in a college town in the early 1990s learns about life, love, and ancient Greek philosophy in this episodic, often comic tale. With its evenhanded narrator, this low-key novel succinctly evokes the supportive dynamics of the community at its heart." — Kirkus Reviews
Chosen as a SIBA Summer 2015 Okra Pick Best Book.
Buy it here.
"...a novel of love and life that is humorous and delicate. The regulars at
the Cavern Tavern in the small southern town of Waterville, located somewhere
in the Appalachian Piedmont, partake of all the quirkiness expected of
literary denizens of dive bars in the South. The residents of the Cave ...
welcome newcomer Josie into their community when she arrives in town. After
taking up a position as bartender in the Cave, Josie learns that `there is
enormous comfort to be had in friends who see the worst of you and do not turn
away.' Passages drawn from Plato's allegory of the cave and Edith Hamilton's
Mythology weave through the story, elevating Josie's struggles to the
level of the universal. This is warm, sweet, and inviting, like pie fresh from
— Publishers Weekly
"`The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato is a love letter to the families we build for ourselves . . . '; a perfect encapsulation. Funny, wise, philosophical and poignant; a complete cast of characters commanded with a sure hand. I laughed, I teared up a little, and I admired a writer who utilized an interesting twist in telling a time worn story of misfits finding their way in the world. Or maybe I'm just at that stage in life where a little philosophical existentialism in my fiction is just what the doctor ordered." — Teresa Rolfe Kravtin, Riffle
"Josie's voice is a confection: wry, sweet with Southern humor, and wise beyond her years. Both thoughtful and poignant, this is a novel readers can savor." — Library Journal
The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato
See the trailer.
An Afternoon in Summer
"Kathy Giuffre is a brave woman. Or mad." — Marion Gilbertson, Nelson (NZ) Times
"This is a lovely book. Written with love and sensitivity, enlivened with delightful flashes of humour and fun, this account can not fail to enchant the reader. It is warmly recommended." — Mary Cee, Wanganui (NZ) Chronicle
"Well-written, funny and touching." — Fishhead (NZ)
"With witty anecdotes Giuffre captures the minutiae and luxuriant inertia of island life. ... lyrical, romantic – it is a mood that lingers well beyond the final page." — Easy Mix (NZ)
"A delightful read." — JT, Latitude (NZ)
"A delightful and refreshing read, brimming with sensuality and intelligence. Kathy Giuffre's hilarious observations had me laughing out loud. She writes with disarming honesty but this is also a love letter to the people of Rarotonga, rich with the joys and sorrows of a lost paradise." — Kapka Kassabova, author of Street Without a Name
Buy it here.
Her TEDxMileHigh talk on some of her research into creativity in the South Pacific.
Art and Society in the South Pacific
"Giuffre combines shrewd participant observation with network analysis to capture the emergence of an art world in Rarotonga. Identities vie with ethnicity for dominance, as do paintings with crafts, during a decade of contentions on and off the island. Central to her analysis is the paradoxical interplay of canons with collectors across auctions and galleries, all triggered by tourism plus exchange with New Zealand." — Harrison White, Columbia University
"Drawing theoretical and methodological inspiration from sources as varied as Becker, Bourdieu, and social network research, Katherine Giuffre opens up new avenues for the analysis of artistic creativity. An inquiry richly informed by historical, ethnographic, and documentary research, this book reaffirms the collective nature of artistic innovation and uncovers in remarkable detail the social and relational processes at its core. This wonderful book will become an indispensable point of reference for cultural analysts, students of art worlds, social network researchers, and sociologists of modernity and globalization." — Mustafa Emirbayer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Buy it here.
Communities and Networks:
Using Social Network Analysis to Rethink Urban and Community Studies
"Giuffre reveals the deep underlying relational commonalities of such diverse contexts as small town life at the end of Weimar, the Salem witch-frenzy, Boston's East End, and the rise of Apple in Silicon Valley with richly textured description carried by elegantly clear prose that makes reading Communities and Networks both incredibly informative and delightful." — Peter Bearman, Columbia University
"If you are looking for a compelling introduction to basic concepts and methods of social network modeling that will expand your imagination and help you become a more astute analyst of society and culture, then this is the book for you. Katherine Giuffre writes with insight and verve." — Ronald Breiger, University of Arizona
"Forty years ago, people thought of community as a neighborhood. Now social networks have busted the boundaries of communities. ... Katherine Giuffre tells this story well, and supplies solid evidence to clinch the tale." — Barry Wellman, University of Toronto
Buy it here.
Look Homeward, Y'All
My Hillbilly Heritage #2:
A Fascinating Sociological Connection Between the Industrial
Revolution, Company Stores, Time Clocks, and Squirrel Meat
My Hillbilly Heritage #3:
The Good Thing About Watching TV Is That
It Keeps Me Away From The Oven
My Hillbilly Heritage #4:
Boiling Shit Down in Kettles is What Hillbillies Do Best
My Hillbilly Heritage #5:
Put Your Head in This Bowl and Hold Still
My Hillbilly Heritage #6:
My Hillbilly Heritage #7:
Daisy Mae Gets Married
She is also a contributor to the art and literary journal ohioedit.com.
Tweets by @KatherineGiuffr
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