Office Hours…with Professor Fisher



(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

In today’s Office Hours, we visit Professor James Fisher’s office who is located in room 806 at 33 West 60th Street. Professor Fisher, who teaches in both the Theology and American Studies department, has very few decorations in his office, but the stories behind the few items he does have are heartfelt and meaningful.  While sitting in his office on a beautiful fall morning, Professor Fisher tells us the stories of his old-time hero, his own book and his family.

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

1. Poster of Roberto Clemente and Pittsburgh Pirates Jacket

“Roberto was my old-time hero when I was growing up.  He was always so graceful.  Unlike other baseball players who have larger figures, he is just a regular-sized person.  He was very agile and he was like a ballet dancer as an athlete. I saw him play every year until he died in a plane crash when he was 38.  This poster is almost 50 years old.  I got it when I was a child living in Connecticut in 1966 and I have had it everywhere I have ever gone since then. I never framed it because I just like the idea of the paper like that.”

“See, the number on this jacket is 21, which is Roberto’s number.  My grandparents took me to a baseball museum when I was nine.  In the gift shop they bought me this jacket. They have this store there that can sew your name on the jacket.  When I first started wearing it, kids started to make fun of me because my name was on it.  However, I wore it every day for three years, no matter if it snowed or rained.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

2.On the Irish Waterfront”

“Ten years ago I decided to write a book about the Irish Waterfront when I was in St. Louis.  The reason I wanted to write something about the waterfront is that I have some personal stories of my family that has a lot to do with the Irish waterfront.  So I started to commute to Fordham, and luckily, I got a job at Fordham.  Since this is a New York story, Fordham is exactly the place I want to be to write the book.  Actually I kind of miss the feeling of having a book coming out and talking to people about it.  I really miss it.  So now I’m involved in a new book which is about the three generations of my family.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

 3. Research for his book

“That is five thousand pages of research for my book and it is the foundation of my book.  It took me several summers to read all five thousand pages.  After you finish your book, where do you store your research?  I think I am going to hold on to those.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

4. Movie poster for “On the Waterfront”

“A friend of mine gave it to me about four years ago when my book, ‘On the Irish Waterfront’ came out.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

5. Clock made of Irish granite

“This is a clock made of a piece of Irish granite.  The clock doesn’t work.  When I was on a TV show in Ireland, some Irish Television journalists come over and interviewed me for a TV documentary about ‘On the Irish Waterfront,’ and they gave me this Irish granite. It comes from the western part of Ireland where the priest in my book comes from.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

6. Picture of Charlie

“This is a picture of my son, Charlie, taken by my wife Kristina this year.  He is now fifteen.  Recently I’m thinking about writing a book about my son who has autism.  He loves to ride bikes and he always has a lot of energy.  We ride bikes every day– like today I will go home and ride bikes with him.  He can’t really talk that much; he needs a lot of supervision.  But he is good with the iPad.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

7. Kristina’s Blog

“My wife is a blogger.  One of her blogs is called ‘We Go with Him,’ in which she blogs about Charlie. When we go ride bikes she always goes with us and blogs in the car.  She is teaching in a college as well.  We are both very active.  She keeps everything going at home.”

(Weiyu Li/The Observer)

8. Books 

“A lot of them are about the waterfront.  And also many of them are related to New York City and of course about religion.”