Feed on
Posts
Comments

Monthly Archive for February, 2009

Max Krafft '09 overlooks the city of An Nasiriyah, Iraq during a deployment with the U.S. Army. Krafft will speak about his experience March 7 and 22 as part of an upcoming art show at the New Museum in New York City. Krafft says the image "portrays visually the daunting task of talking about something so large and confusing from one person's perspective."

Max Krafft '09 overlooks the city of An Nasiriyah, Iraq during a deployment with the U.S. Army. Krafft will speak about his experience March 7 and 22 as part of an upcoming installation at the New Museum in New York City. Krafft says the image "portrays visually the daunting task of talking about something so large and confusing from one person's perspective."

As a former U.S. Army sergeant, Max Krafft ’09 has a lot to say about his two stints serving in Iraq.

The English major was deployed in December 2005, and again in January 2007. On both occasions he was touring as the bass player and sound engineer for a rock/pop/country/R&B ensemble affiliated with the 389th Army Band.

“We were there to perform for the members of the military and government contractors who were stationed there during the holidays in an attempt to entertain them and boost their morale,” Krafft explains, regarding his role overseas.

Krafft, who lived and worked within 300 meters of a car bomb explosion and several mortar attacks, will share his thoughts on the War in Iraq as part of an exhibit at the New Museum in New York. The part-installation, part-conversation show (more…)

Ascending eruption cloud from the Mount Redoubt volcano in 1990 as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula. The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris that cascaded down the north flank of the volcano. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater. (Photo by R. Clucas)

Ascending eruption cloud from the Mount Redoubt volcano in 1990 as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula. The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris that cascaded down the north flank of the volcano. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater. (Photo by R. Clucas)

About 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the ground around Mount Redoubt has begun to shake and a smell akin to rotten eggs tinges the air. The last time this happened the 10,197-foot volcano erupted for five months, venting hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide gas and spewing ash into the air. Professor Johan Varekamp remembers it well. He was among scientists who analyzed the direct effects of the 1989-1990 eruption.

The ash he examined was ejected more than 40,000 feet into the sky; the resulting ashfall covered nearly 8,000 square miles of the surrounding landscape.

“As is often quoted in the newspapers, ash is an unpleasant substance for human lungs as well as jet engines, given the sharp edges of small glassy ash fragments,” says Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, who studies volcanoes and their effects. “Inhalation of volcanic ash leads to lung irritation and possibly lung damage. It is often compared to silicosis, which is a lung condition that many workers (more…)

Vera Schwarcz, professor of history and East Asian Studies and director of the Freeman Center, discusses her experience with China during a presentation Jan. 29.

Vera Schwarcz, professor of history and East Asian Studies and director of the Mansfield Freeman Center, discusses her experience with China during a presentation Jan. 29.

Thirty years ago, the United States opened its first embassy in the People’s Republic of China as our nation began reestablishing its relations with the country. Vera Schwarcz, professor of history and East Asian studies and director of the Freeman Center, remembers the events well. After all, she was part of them.

Schwarcz, an expert on Chinese culture, politics and literature, was one of only seven official exchange scholars invited to visit China in February 1979 when the embassy opened. Her recollections of this time, and her subsequent 30 years of experiences studying in and about China, served as the foundation for her presentation titled “A Thirty Year Harvest: Personal Reflections on U.S. China Relations.”

Schwarcz’s lecture kicked off Wesleyan’s Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies semester-long celebration and recognition of the reopening of community country to the western world.

During the lecture Schwarcz shared her insights, inspiration and challenges that have come from her personal relationship with China for the past three decades.

“I went to China as a so-called expert,” Schwarcz says. “I came back as a perennial student.” (more…)

Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies, meets with three Buddhist nuns in Ladakh, India. Willis was honored as a "Outstanding Woman in Buddhism" recently for making an "exceptional contribution to Buddhism."

Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies, meets with three Buddhist nuns in Ladakh, India. Willis was honored as a "Outstanding Woman in Buddhism" recently for making an "exceptional contribution to Buddhism."

In the sparsely populated, mountainous region of Ladakh, India, elderly Buddhist nuns are suffering from isolation, illiteracy and lack of respect from their communities. These women, who spent their lives serving their family or working as laborers, have rarely had the opportunity to become ordained or to worship in a monastery like the highly regarded male monks.

“These women have been devalued from the beginning,” says Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies. “All they’ve ever wanted to do is serve the dharma and study, but instead, they’ve become servants of their community, or helpers for the monks.”

Jan Willis

Jan Willis

Willis, who has devoted part of the last seven years to helping a group of elderly Ladakhi nuns, is being honored as an “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism” for the year 2009 for making an “exceptional contribution to Buddhism.” (more…)

Dianna Farrell '87. (Photo courtesy of the the Milken Institute)

Dianna Farrell '87. (Photo courtesy of the the Milken Institute)

President Barack Obama has appointed Diana Farrell ’87 as deputy director of the National Economic Council. She most recently served as director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey & Company’s economics research arm.

In announcing the appointment, President Obama said Farrell “will work day and night with me to advance an American Recovery and Reinvestment plan that not only aims to jumpstart economic growth, but also promotes the long-term investments in our economy necessary to save and create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, and assure energy independence.”

Farrell’s work has appeared in academic journals, books, and on the op–ed pages of leading international publications, and she is a frequent speaker at major US and global conferences. She is the editor of an anthology series based on MGI research, published by Harvard Business School Press, 2007.

Together with Lowell Bryan, she is the co-author of Market Unbound, published by Wiley & Sons, 1996.
She holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations, the Bretton Woods Committee, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Ian bassin

Ian Bassin '98.

President Barack Obama has named Ian Bassin ’98 to be a deputy associate counsel in the Office of Counsel to the President. Bassin recently served as a member of the Education Policy Working Group for the Presidential Transition Team, and had earlier served as the Florida Policy Director on the Obama Campaign for Change.

Previously, he served as a law clerk to Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Wesleyan Now On iTunes U

Wesleyan's content on iTunes U comprises more than 100 tracks available for download.

Wesleyan's content on iTunes U comprises more than 100 tracks available for download.

Wesleyan has become the latest institution to join iTunes U, a component of Apple’s iTunes Store that provides free educational audio and video content from the world’s foremost higher education institutions, museums and public media organizations.

Wesleyan joins more than 160 higher education institutions who have met Apple’s strict quality control requirements and have been allowed to post educational content on Apple’s iTunes U site.

The initiative was the result of a joint effort between University Communications and the New Media Lab. The departments worked within the guidelines provided by Apple to create a web-based presence that showcases unique workshops, lectures, WESeminars, interviews, athletic competitions and other memorable events. (more…)

Andrew Witkin '00.

Andrew Witkin '00

Artist Andrew Witkin ’00 Wins Foster Prize
Andrew Witkin ’00 was recently awarded the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Art’s 2008 James and Audrey Foster Prize of $25,000. He was one of four finalists whose work went on show at the ICA in Boston in November (the exhibition ends March 1). His art work on display, Untitled, 1990, is an installation of carefully arranged personal effects and impersonal furniture.

According to the Boston Globe, the “arrangement reflects aspects of the artist’s own life, which is both fervently social (he works at the Barbara Krakow Gallery on Newbury Street and has a wide circle of friends) and highly controlled. The overall effect is strangely haunting, at once crowded with memory and desire and devastatingly empty.”

A resident of Jamaica Plain, Witkin also has another installation, Others Among Others, on exhibit at LaMontagne Gallery in South Boston (through Feb. 14). The show, which includes three racks of 144 cotton T-shirts, each stamped with text, was favorably reviewed in the Boston Globe.

Matthew Weiner '87

Matthew Weiner '87

Matthew Weiner ’87 Seals a Two-Year Deal with Lionsgate TV; Wins Producers Guild Award for Mad Men
Matthew Weiner, the creator, co-producer, and writer of the award-winning AMC series, Mad Men, received a two-year deal in January with Lionsgate TV, which will have him overseeing the series for two more seasons. The agreement also covers TV development and the prospect of developing a feature film for Lionsgate.
In January Weiner won the Producers Guild of America award for his work on Mad Men. The same month, the series also received the Best Ensemble in a Television Drama from the Screen Actors Guild of America. More here.

Pianist Donald Berman ’84 Has Two New CDs

Donald Berman
Donald Berman ’84 (Photo by Iannis Delatolas)

Pianist Donald Berman plays on two new recordings, Americans in Rome: Music by Fellows of the American Academy in Rome (Bridge Records), for which he served as artistic director, and The Light That Is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives (New World Records). These two recordings were chosen separately as “North American Disc of the Month” in the January and February issues of BBC Music Magazine.

Americans in Rome consists of four CDs featuring music by Rome Prize-winning composers from 1920 to 2000 and provides a compelling glimpse of the history of American music, with American masters side by side with younger innovators. In its review of the recording, BBC Music Magazine commented that Berman “shows great stylistic flexibility, both between pieces and within Tamar Diesendruck’s multifarious Sound Reasoning in the Tower of Babel.”

On The Light That Is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives, Berman collaborates with soprano Susan Narucki. The CD contains 27 songs by Charles Ives, offering a wide range of his compositions. Each song evokes memory through stories and characters drawn from Ives’ life.

In a January review of the Ives recording, Vivien Schweitzer in The New York Times said: “The painterly details of Ives’s songs are vividly conveyed by the bright-voiced Susan Narucki and the pianist Donald Berman on a new disc whose 27 diverse selections … highlight Ives’s multiple influences. Those included European Romanticism and religious and secular American tunes, which he meshed with his own inventive, radical harmonies. Like Bartok, Ives used both simple folk melodies and dissonance, sometimes blending them.”

The Spring 2009 Distinguished Writers Series features a short story author, New York Times Magazine writer, student poets and a Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Amy Bloom ’75, the 2009 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer, will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 18 in Russell House. Bloom is the author of the novel Love Invents Us, the short story collection A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, and the nonfiction work Normal. Her most recent novel, Away, was a New York Times bestseller, and she has received the National Magazine Award and been nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and numerous anthologies here and abroad.

Carlo Rotella will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 in Russell House. Rotella is the author of October Cities, Good With Their Hands, (more…)

Dick Miller, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, emeritus, is the author of “The Weighted Cost of Capital is not Quite Right” and “The Weighted Cost of Capital is Not Quite Right: Reply to M Pierru,” published in the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 2009.

Masami Imai, assistant professor of economics, assistant professor of East Asian studies, is the author of “Political Influence and Declarations of Bank Insolvency in Japan,” published in the Journal of Money Credit, and Banking, 2009.

Book by Joyce Lowrie.

Book by Joyce Lowrie.

Joyce Lowrie, professor of romance languages and literatures, emerita, is the author of Sightings: Mirrors in Texts – Texts in Mirrors, published by Rodopi in December 2008.

This book analyzes mirror imagery, scenes, and characters in French prose texts, in chronological order, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. It does so in light of literal, metaphoric and rhetorical structures. Works analyzed in the traditional French canon, written by such writers as Laclos, Lafayette, and Balzac, are extended by studies of texts composed by Barbey d’Aurevilly, Georges Rodenbach, Jean Lorrain and Pieyre de Mandiargues.

This work offers appeal to readers interested in linguistics, French history, psychology, art, and material culture. It invites analyses of historical and ideological contexts, rhetorical strategies, symmetry and asymmetry.

Next »