Monthly Archives: September 2009

Asst. Football Coach Brogna Has Eye on the Majors

Former major league baseball player and current Wesleyan Football receivers coach Rico Brogna hopes to be coaching at the professional level soon – in baseball. But he is drawing leadership lessons from Wesleyan’s head football coach Frank Hauser in that quest.

Roth on an Anniversary for Freud and the U.S.

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth has a piece in The Huffington Post on the 100th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s only visit to the U.S. Freud came to New England 100 years ago this fall to deliver a series of lectures.

Jewish Community Celebrates Holiday in Student-Designed WesSukkah

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

Every October, Wesleyan’s Jewish community dwells in a temporary structure built for the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

This holiday, the Jewish students will celebrate the Israelites 40-year journey to the Holy Land inside an airy, five-mound curving structure of carbon-steel clad in bamboo. Designed by 15 students enrolled in Architecture II, a research-design-build studio, the “WesSukkah” provides a sacred space that adheres to a complex, medieval Rabbinic building code.

“The students have crafted something which is both compelling and meaningful for Wesleyan’s campus,” explains the studio’s instructor, Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. “The structure maintains its symbolic and literal connection to the broader landscape through its materiality and permeability.”

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

The students designed WesSukkah with 1,600 culms of bamboo, 46 high carbon steel pipes, six steel rods, five spools of monofilament test line and steel rebar. The structure will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on the top of Foss Hill.

The final design is a result of an intensive sequence of research, design, fabrication phases and client presentations.

Initially, the project clients,

Filmmaker Longley ’94 Receives MacArthur Grant

James Longley ’94

James Longley ’94

Documentary filmmaker James Longley ’94 has been awarded the prestigious $500,000 MacArthur grant, along with 23 other recipients. Longley’s low-budget, self-financed films are intimate portraits of people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East. While working on his documentaries, Longley lived among ordinary families and gained access to individuals living in places rarely recorded by Western filmmakers.

Two of Longley’s works, Iraq in Fragments (2006) and Sari’s Mother (2006), were nominated for Academy Awards. Iraq in Fragments chronicles life in war-ravaged Iraq through the eyes of an abandoned young boy on the streets of Baghdad, the collective energy and obsession of Moqtada al-Sadr’s followers, and the agrarian solemnity of Kurdish family farmers. The short film Sari’s Mother deals with a family struggling to navigate the labyrinthine health care system in Iraq.

In 2002, Longley founded Daylight Factory, a production company committed to creating documentary films about international subjects. His current projects focus on Iran, India, and other countries in the region.
Link to James Longley biography on MacArthur Foundation site:

Wesleyan Welcomes 19 New Faculty Members

Wesleyan welcomes 19 newly-hired tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty and adjunct faculty for the 2009-10 academic year.

Robyn Autry joined the Sociology Department as assistant professor. She studies the sociology of race and ethnicity, political sociology, comparative historical sociology, institutions, sociology of science and technology and cultural sociology. Autry has a Ph.D. and Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Javier Castro-Ibaseta joins the History Department and the College of Letters as assistant professor. Castro-Ibaseta studies early modern Spanish history, early modern political culture and cultural/poetic analysis of political events. He has a Ph.D, a Spanish Diploma de Estudios Avanzados and a Bachelor of Arts from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

Sonali Chakravarti joins the Government Department as assistant professor. Chakravarti studies the history of political philosophy, global justice, war and justice in political theory and truth commissions. She has a Ph.D. 

Aly Speaks About University Muslim Chaplaincy

Marwa Aly

Marwa Aly

Marwa Aly, Muslim Chaplin, spoke to Islam Online Radio about her role as a Muslim chaplain for a Sept. 16 story. She discussed her role integrating religious leadership into the campus community.

Alumni Films Shown at Toronto International Film Festival

Michael Cera in Youth in Revolt, directed by Miguel Arteta '89.

Michael Cera in Youth in Revolt, directed by Miguel Arteta '89.

Several Wesleyan alumni-related films were part of the recent program on view at the Toronto International Film Festival, which was held Sept. 10–19. The festival has become the launching ground for films from around the world as well as for films that go on to win prominent awards.

Among the films shown were Youth in Revolt, directed by Miguel Arteta ’89 (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl), a very funny comedy based on the cult novels by C. D. Payne about the misadventures of a sex-obsessed 14-year-old Nick Twisp with a French alter-ego who inspires him to misbehave. Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad) gives one of his best comic screen performances as Twisp.

Paul Schiff ’81 is the producer of Solitary Man, which features an excellent performance by Michael Douglas as a 60-year-old car dealer who faces a family and career meltdown. The film, which also stars Susan Sarandon and Mary- Louise Parker, has a sharp-edged, character-driven screenplay by Brian Koppleman who co-directed the film with David Levien.

Natalie Portman and Charlie Tahan in Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, based on a novel by Ayelet Waldman '86.

Natalie Portman and Charlie Tahan in Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, based on a novel by Ayelet Waldman '86.

Other films screened at the festival were Down for Life, the gripping and grim movie about a day in the life of a Latina teenage gangsta in Los Angeles, directed by Alan Jacobs ’80; and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, written and directed by Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings) and based on a novel by Ayelet Waldman ’86. The latter film has a fine ensemble cast, with a powerful performance by Natalie Portman as a difficult and abrasive Manhattan young lawyer who grieves for the death of her baby daughter as she also tries to bond with her stepson, whose real mother, played by Lisa Kudrow, finds her incompetent.

Class of 2013 Participates in Common Moment

The Center for the Arts sponsored the 2009 Feet to the Fire Common Moment Sept. 4 on Andrus Field.

The Class of 2013 showcased drumming and dance movements from six different cultures—Korean, Cuban, West African, Japanese, Irish and South Indian—where water is an important component of their cultural traditions.

The event included drumming, rhythmic movement and fire spinners. The evening culminated with the Class of 2013 forming a human histogram about its own water footprint. (Photos by Nick Lacy)

Lang Authors New Book on Holocaust

New book by Berel Lang.

New book by Berel Lang.

Berel Lang, visiting professor of letters, visiting professor of philosophy, is the author of the book Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence published by the University Press of New England, the fifth in a series of books by him on the Holocaust.

The 260-paged book brings the perspective of philosophical analysis to bear on issues related to the Holocaust. Setting out from a conception of philosophical “witnessing” that expands and illuminates the standard view of the witness, he confronts the question of what philosophy can add to the views of the Holocaust provided in other disciplines. Drawing on the philosophical areas of political theory, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of history, he draws attention especially to the post-Holocaust emphasis on the concepts of genocide and “group rights.”

Lang’s study, which emphasizes the moral choices that now face post-Holocaust thought, inspires the reader to think of the Holocaust in new ways, showing how its continued presence in contemporary consciousness affects areas of thought and practice not directly associated with that event.

Laura Stark: New Sociology and Science in Society Assistant Professor

Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, is new to Wesleyan this fall semester.

Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, is teaching The Sociology of Medicine and Regulating Health, both part of the Science in Society Program.

Laura Stark has joined the Department of Sociology and the Program in Science in Society as assistant professor.

Her research focuses on the social history and sociology of medicine, research ethics, human subject research, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and group/committee decision-making in healthcare.

Stark graduated from Cornell University in 1998 with a bachelor’s in communication. She went on to obtain a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University, ending in 2006. She was awarded the biannual prize for best dissertation from the History of Science Society’s Forum for the History of the Human Sciences for her work titled “Morality in Science: How Research is Evaluated in the Age of Human Subjects Regulation.”

Stark was a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern University’s Department of Sociology and Program in Science in Human Culture Program. She been working

Skillman Speaks on State of the Economy to WNPR

Gil Skillman

Gil Skillman

Gil Skillman, chair and professor of economics, was a featured guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live” discussion on the general state of the economy one year after the demise of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the recession.

Skillman and two other economists discuss what led to the collapse and point out some of the danger points that have been under-reported in the newsmedia and have yet to be addressed by the Federal Government.

EON Raises $9,000 for Charity with Tag Sale

Wesleyan's Environmental Organizers Network hosted a Waste Not! tag sale Sept. 5-7 inside the former Moconaughy Dining Hall.

Wesleyan's Environmental Organizers Network hosted a Waste Not! tag sale Sept. 5-7 inside the former Moconaughy Dining Hall.

EON collected usable items from students last spring and sold them in the sale.

EON collected usable items from students last spring and sold them in the sale.

Students stocked up on clothing, school supplies and furniture for the school year.

Students stocked up on clothing, school supplies and furniture for the school year.

EON raised more than $9,000 for local charities.

EON raised more than $9,000 for local charities.

Students walked away with bedding, books, kitchen supplies, microwaves and rugs.

Students walked away with bedding, books, kitchen supplies, microwaves and rugs.

All unsold items will be donated to GoodWill, Amazing Grace food pantry and the College in Prision Program. Left over electronics will be recycled. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

All unsold items will be donated to GoodWill, Amazing Grace food pantry and the College in Prision Program. Left over electronics will be recycled. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)