Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jakobson Visiting Writer Kaplan ’73 to Speak Feb. 9

James Kaplan '73 (Photo by Erinn Hartman)

James Kaplan '73 (Photo by Erinn Hartman)

Author James Kaplan ’73, the Writing Programs’ 2011 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer, will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Russell House.

Kaplan has been writing about people and ideas in business and popular culture, and also writing fiction, for over three decades. His essays and reviews, as well as more than a hundred major profiles of figures ranging from Madonna to Helen Gurley Brown, Calvin Klein to John Updike, Miles Davis to Meryl Streep, and Arthur Miller to Larry David, have appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and Esquire

In November 2010, Kaplan published an acclaimed new biography, Frank: The Voice (Doubleday), about the early life of one of America’s best known American singers and entertainers of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra, from the years 1915 through 1954. Kaplan reveals how Sinatra helped to make the act of listening to pop music a more personal experience to his fans than it had ever been before.

Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times recently chose Kaplan’s book as one of her Top 10 Books of 2010. In her review in the Times, she wrote that Kaplan “has produced a book that has all the emotional detail and narrative momentum of a novel.  …  In recounting his subject’s rise and fall and rise again — all before the age of 40 — Mr. Kaplan gives us a wonderfully vivid feel for the worlds Sinatra traversed, from Hoboken and New York to Hollywood and Las Vegas, as well as the rapidly shifting tastes in music that shaped him and were later shaped by him.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Kaplan’s talk is part of the Writing at Wesleyan Spring 2011 Russell House Series. For more information on Kaplan and other upcoming speakers go to

Wesleyan Closed Today 1-27 Due to Snow Storm

Due to the heavy snowfall overnight, Wesleyan University will be closed today, Thursday, January 27th.  Classes scheduled to meet today are canceled.  Essential personnel should report to campus as scheduled.  The Usdan Center and Dining Services will open, as scheduled, later this morning.

Yohe on Predicting Human-Driven Global Warming

In The New York Times “Dot Earth” blog, author Andrew Rivkin enlisted the help of Gary Yohe, Huffington Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, to answer some very specific questions by a reader on the imprecision associated with trying to predict the effects of human-driven global warming. Yohe offers information on “specificity in efforts to cut risks of regrettable outcomes,” among other issues.

Education Reform, Youth Empowerment Topics of MLK Day Celebration

Geoffrey Canada was the keynote speaker during Wesleyan's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Jan. 21.

“Education Reform and Youth Empowerment was the topic of renowned educator Geoffrey Canada, the featured speaker at this year’s Martin Luther King Celebration on Jan. 21 in Memorial Chapel.

Canada, who was featured in the recent documentary Waiting for Superman, has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to helping the most impoverished, at-risk youth beat the odds. His idea of educational change is predicated on a simple yet radical idea: to change the lives of inner city kids we must simultaneously change their schools, their families, and their neighborhoods. Through programs such as the Beacon School, Community Pride Initiative, Harlem Gems, Harlem Peacemakers, and the Promise Academy, he has developed a network of services that reach most of the 6,500 children and their families living in the Harlem Children’s Zone.

As President and CEO of the revolutionary

Wesleyan Media Project: 2010 Campaign Ads Most Negative Ever

Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, is director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

The 2010 campaign season was the most negative in recent years, but, current political rhetoric aside, that actually may not be a bad thing.

These are among the findings and conclusions from a recent journal article published by Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government and director of The Wesleyan Media Project, and her co-researchers in The Forum, a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics.

“Advertising Trends in 2010” by Fowler and Travis Ridout, associate professor at Washington State University and co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project, examined the data and trends in television campaign advertising from all Federal and Gubernatorial races during the 2010 cycle. This included such issues as negativity levels and tenor in ads and its effect; the top issues and themes used by Democrats and Republicans in House and Senate ads; and ad tone (Attack, Promote, Contrast) by party from 2000-2010.

Student Research Ongoing Over Winter Break (with VIDEOS)

The work of science never ceases. Jeff Arace '12, pictured in the foreground, and graduate student James Arnone, pictured in the back, spent part of the winter break studying transcriptional regulation of paired genes involved in ribosome biogenesis. Their advisor, pictured in center, is Michael McAlear, chair and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Playwright Ruhl Begins Residency at Wesleyan

Sarah Ruhl

MacArthur award winner Sarah Ruhl begins a two-day residency at Wesleyan on Feb. 10, the fifth by a playwright in the university’s “Outside the Box” theater series, which brings distinguished playwrights to campus.

Ruhl, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and author of the widely praised “Euridyce, ” “The Clean House,” and “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play),” among other works, has been described by The New York Times as “among the most acclaimed and accomplished young playwrights on the contemporary scene.”

At Wesleyan she will visit an acting class, dine with both playwriting students and faculty from several departments,

Social Justice Leadership Conference Jan. 21-22

The Wesleyan community participated in the 2011 Social Justice Leadership Conference (SJLC) Jan. 21-22 on campus.

The SJLC provides an opportunity for students, student groups, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to learn about creating change through the application of a variety of skills.

Sessions focused on the many manifestations of injustice, leadership skills that may be applied to social movements, and how participants can be involved in creating change.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Geoffrey Canada from the Harlem Children’s Zone. Photos of the event will appear in a future issue of The Wesleyan Connection.

5 Questions With . . . Krishna Winston on Art of Translation

Günter Grass, pictured in center, autographs a tin drum for Krishna Winston at the Grass House in Lübeck, Germany. Grass’ wife, Ute, looks on. The Tin Drum is Grass’ most famous novel. (Photo by Hongjun Cai)

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Krishna Winston, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, dean of arts and humanities, on the art of literary translation. Winston has been the principal English-language translator for the works of the Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass since 1990. Here Winston talks about the art of translation and working with a giant of 20th-century literature.

Q: How did you come to be the English-language translator of Günter Grass’s books?

A: I should explain that from 1960 until his death in 1992, the distinguished literary translator Ralph Manheim was responsible for translating almost everything Grass published, starting with The Tin Drum, which established Grass as the most provocative and brilliant writer to emerge from postwar Germany. After the Berlin Wall came down, because Manheim was in failing health, Grass’s American editor, Helen Wolff, asked my Wesleyan colleague Arthur S. Wensinger and me to do a collection of essays by Grass.

It was a rush job, because the book had to appear in time for the official unification of the two Germanys on October 3, 1990. Wolff had worked for many years with my parents, well-known literary translators, and I had translated a book on Joseph Goebbels that she published.