In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.
Recent Wesleyan News
1. Inside Higher Ed: “Voting Is Good, but Higher Ed Must Do More”
In this op-ed, President Michael S. Roth writes: “In a year when inducements to political violence have become normalized at the highest level, colleges and universities must do more than just encourage our students to vote.” It is crucial that colleges actively work to protect free expression, free inquiry, and fact-based discussion, Roth argues.
Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, explains that our brains tend to regard things with long odds as important. “Because the odds of winning the lottery are so astronomical, our brains conclude that the lottery is important — and so we buy a ticket, thinking that our numbers are going to come up.” Robinson is also assistant professor, neuroscience and behavior, and assistant professor, integrative sciences.
In this blog post, Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler and Project Manager Laura Baum (both of the Wesleyan Media Project), and Sarah Gollust ’01 examine trends in health insurance advertising from nonfederal sponsors given the sharp decrease in funding for enrollment and outreach in the Trump Administration.
4. JazzTimes: “Tyshawn Sorey Unveils a 3-Disc Extravaganza”
Assistant Professor of Music Tyshawn Sorey, a “prolific polymath,” is profiled in this article, which features his newest release, described as “arguably his most ambitious work to date: the meditative, droning Pillars, a nearly four-hour marathon separated into three hour-plus parts.”
Recent Alumni News
- New Yorker: Culture Desk: James Longley’s “Angels Are Made of Light” Captures the Daily Despair of Ordinary Afghans
Filmmaker James Longley ’94, a film studies and Russian major while at Wesleyan, offered this “unscripted and unmediated portrait of quotidian life” in Angels Are Made of Light, following schoolchildren and teachers in an Afghanistan neighborhood. In this interview with Antonia Hitchens, he discusses his work: “I wanted to record a realistic picture of Kabul and re-create how I imagined the people in the film were experiencing that reality. . . . A phantasmagoria of Kabul’s old city neighborhood.”
An interview with Alsarah [Sarah Mohamed Abunama Elgadi ’04] traces her background and interest in music. “Born in Sudan and raised in Yemen, before finally settling in America, transience and displacement are at the heart of everything Alsarah and the Nubatones explore in their music. ‘I’m more comfortable as an immigrant than as anything else,’ Alsarah explains, sipping a beer on the roof terrace. ‘Being an immigrant and Sudanese are now tied with each other so deeply that I don’t know how to separate them.’”
3. The New York Times: “Lin-Manuel Miranda on ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and Movie Musicals’
Writer Julie Bloom interviews Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 about movies and musicals he loved as a child and their influence on him, in preparation for Mary Poppins Returns, a “sequel of sorts” directed by Rob Marshall, which is slated for theaters December 12. Bloom writes: “The movie musicals Mr. Miranda watched growing up have played a formative role in his development as a composer, lyricist, and performer on the stage (In the Heights, Hamilton) and the big screen (Moana). It’s an art form he clearly reveres, as he told me in a phone interview about his favorite movie musicals.” [Note: Members of the Wesleyan community can access The New York Times online through Olin Library.