Rosenman ’17, Feldman ’17 Receive Friends of the Wesleyan Library Undergraduate Research Prizes

Jane Alden, Rachel, Dan Cherubin, Michael Meere.

At left, Jane Alden, associate professor of music, associate professor of medieval studies; Rachel Rosenman ’17; Dan Cherubin, the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian; and Michael Meere, assistant professor of French studies, gathered to honor Rosenman for her prize-winning essay during a ceremony in the Smith Reading Room on April 11. Meere also is chair of the Friends of the Wesleyan Library. (Photo by Leith Johnson)

Music and French studies double major Rachel Rosenman ’17 is the recipient of the inaugural Friends of the Wesleyan Library Undergraduate Research Prize. During a ceremony on April 11, Rosenman was honored for her essay titled, “‘Mais la musique demeurera toujours’: Repurposing the French Baroque.”

Rosenman’s essay describes the work she undertook in order to generate user-friendly editions of French Baroque music, adapting solo bass viol repertoire to make it playable on the treble viol, in modern notation. She includes discussion of editorial methodologies, and situates the music historically and theoretically. In addition to background information on the viol instrument family in the Baroque era, Rosenman describes the mid-20th century revival, discusses broader issues relating to repurposing the musical past, and draws on feedback she received from the intended recipient of her editions, Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Emeritus. An interview with Professor Slobin formed part of the information gathering work involved in compiling this project.

Rosenman’s advisor was Jane Alden, associate professor of music, associate professor of medieval studies. (Rosenman also is the daughter of Wesleyan alumnus Stephen Rosenman ’79.)

Anthropology and dance double major Sara Feldman ’17 took second place for her essay, “Hodu Lashem: Jewish Identities in India.” This ethnographic analysis explores peoplehood, nationalism and identity formation in two particular Jewish communities: the Bene Ephraim of Andhra Pradesh, India, and the Bene Israel of Mumbai, India. Through ethnographic examples and historical research, this project examines community and individual relationships to the Jewish diaspora, the caste system, the political entities of India and Israel, and the diverse religious landscape of India. This study posits that identities shift and change through a variety of complex and fluid factors, and that understanding the heterogeneity of diaspora is essential for working towards equality.

Feldman’s advisor was Gina Athena Ulysse, professor of anthropology, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Feldman was unable to attend the awards ceremony, so Ulysse accepted the award on Feldman’s behalf. Katja Kolcio, associate professor dance, is Rosenman’s senior capstone advisor, and nominated nominated her paper for the prize. (Anyone wishing to read Feldman’s essay can e-mail her at sefeldman (at) wesleyan.edu.)

Both essays were selected from a large pool of high-quality submissions by a panel of judges including professors, librarians, the interim director of academic writing, and members of the Friends board. The projects were evaluated based on use of Wesleyan’s library collections and resources, evidence of learning about research techniques and information-gathering, and the quality of writing and research.

The Friends of the Wesleyan Library is a community of readers dedicated to celebrating and enjoying books of all kinds from vellum bound manuscripts to humble paperbacks to the latest digital innovation. The Friends raise funds to support the library’s important work and activities.