Corrina Kerr

Student Play Based on Female Prisoners’ Lives

The play, Unexpected: Voices of Incarcerated Women, was written by former inmates at the York Correctional Institute in Niantic, Conn.

The play, Unexpected: Voices of Incarcerated Women, included pieces written by former and current inmates at the York Correctional Institute in Niantic, Conn. Photo by Bill Burkhart.

The debut of Unexpected: Voices of Incarcerated Women, a new play directed by Professor of Theater Ron Jenkins, was shown to full crowds in the Center for the Arts Hall on Feb. 25 and 26.

In Unexpected, stories written by women formerly and presently incarcerated at the York Correctional Institute in Niantic, Conn., were performed by the former prisoners and Wesleyan students who have collaborated with them in Jenkins’ service learning course.

Jenkins has been leading a theater outreach class at York since 2008, which predates the Center for Prison Education at Wesleyan, founded in 2009. However, through the Center for Prison Education, Wesleyan students are currently volunteering at the prison.

“The mission of the Center for Prison Education program is to practice Wesleyan’s civic engagement by offering college courses to incarcerated individuals, in order both to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities and to enhance Wesleyan’s academic community. We believe that the work done by Ron Jenkins and our activities complement one another well,” explains program manager Cathy Crimmins Lechowicz, director of community service and volunteerism.

The Feb. 25 performance included a reading by novelist

5 Questions with … Katja Kolcio

Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, writes about the role dance organizations played in developing dance as an academic discipline in her new book. Ph.D programs in dance, for example, were not available in the 1950s and 60s. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, writes about the role dance organizations played in developing dance as an academic discipline in her new book. Ph.D programs in dance, for example, were not available in the 1950s and 60s. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue, we ask 5 Questions to . . . Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, and author of the new Wesleyan University Press book Movable Pillars Organizing Dance, 1956–1978.

Q:  How did you become involved with the “Branching Out, Oral Histories of the Founders of Six National Dance Organizations” assignment, which led to your book?

A: In 2001, I was invited by the American Dance Guild to conduct interviews with founders of six major American dance organizations. Marilynn Danitz and Margot Lehman, past presidents of the Guild, conceived of the project. These organizations were founded in the ’50s and ’60s, and have had an important impact on dance in the United States since then. Many of their founders were getting older and had not been properly recognized for their tremendous contributions. This was an effort to talk with some of those pioneers and to document their recollections.

Q: Why did you focus on the founders and history of six particular organizations?

A: These organizations (the Congress on Research in Dance, the American Dance Therapy Association, the American College Dance Festival Association, the Dance Critics Association, and the Society of Dance History Scholars and the American Dance Guild) are all somewhat affiliated with one another, in one way or another. Many of the founders knew one another because most were on the East Coast or in New York City. The 20-year period within which they emerged marks a significant

5 Questions With … Barbara Juhasz

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, uses a non-invasive eye-tracking machine to examine cognitive processing. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, uses a non-invasive eye-tracking machine to examine cognitive processing. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we ask 5 Questions of…Assistant Professor of Psychology and Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Behavior Barbara Juhasz.

Q. How did you first become interested in psychology?

A. I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and why people behave the way they do. Since early in high school, I had the idea that I wanted to be a research psychologist. At that time, I really did not know what the field of psychology actually consisted of. Like most people, I believe, I thought psychology meant psychopathology. Once I started studying psychology at the college level, I realized that the field of cognitive psychology was what really interested me.

Q. What drove you to explore reading and eye tracking?

A. When I took a statistics class at Binghamton University, I had the opportunity to participate in a Master’s thesis project examining eye movements and reading. It was being conducted in the laboratory of Albrecht Inhoff. I had always been interested in literature and languages and was excited that my love of both psychology and reading could be combined. I was also fascinated by the eye-tracker. It is still amazing to me that by recording where a person looks on a computer screen, we can infer so much about what it happening in their mind. It is an accurate, non-invasive way to examine cognitive processing.

Q. What consistent results from eye tracking studies tell us the most about how people read?

A. Readers alternate between brief pauses, called fixations, and rapid eye movements, called saccades. Fixations last between 200-250

Gillian Goslinga: New Faculty Member in Anthropology, Science in Society

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including reproductive technologies, kinship, spirit possession, shamanism, indigenous healing, ritual, body/knowledge/power, critical medical anthropology, feminist science studies, postcolonial theory and critical philosophy, life history methods and  feminist ethnography. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including kinship and the reproductive technologies, spirit possession and ritual, epistemologies of embodiment and the body, feminist science studies and feminist ethnography. She works primarily in South India. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga has joined the Anthropology Department as an assistant professor of anthropology. She also is an assistant professor of Science in Society.

A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz doctoral program in the History of Consciousness, Goslinga was attracted to Wesleyan for many reasons, including “the school’s progressive ethos and the ’scholar-teacher’ pedagogical model.”   She says teaching is one of her passions.

“The anthropology department is committed to cutting edge theory-cum-praxis,” Goslinga says.

She says she appreciates the combination of theoretical innovation and creativity and serious intellectual inquiry.

“That made an impression,” she explains. “People at Wesleyan seemed genuinely supported and supportive as well as encouraged to break new ground with their scholarship.  I was at once attracted to the intellectual rigor and creativity,

Eye-Tracking Study Reveals How People Make Decisions

Andrea Patalano, associate professor of psychology, and Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, have collaborated on research examining how decisive and indecisive people differ in their processing of information.

Andrea Patalano, associate professor of psychology, and Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, have collaborated on research examining how decisive and indecisive people differ in their processing of information by using an eye-tracking instrument in the Department of Psychology.

To determine the difference between a decisive and an indecisive person, follow the movements of their eyes.

Andrea Patalano, associate professor of psychology, and Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, have collaborated on research examining how decisive and indecisive people differ in their processing of information, which is a little-studied area.

Their full findings are scheduled to be published in the near future, and both researchers are excited about what they found.

Patalano has spent many years studying decision-making while Juhasz has spent time tracking readers’ eye movements using a device called an eye-tracker. Since the researchers were examining the individual differences between how decisive and indecisive people search for information, they were forging new ground.

Juhasz’s EyeLink 1000 eye-tracking machine (SR Research Ltd), housed in her Eye Movement and Reading Lab at Wesleyan, provided Patalano with the equipment she needed to validate prior assumptions and record precise eye movement data.

“I’ve been using the eye movements to study reading and it’s very helpful there,” Juhasz says. “I’ve always had the idea that it would be helpful to use when studying these higher-level cognitive processes. But to be able to see that you can observe individual differences in people’s decision-making strategies was interesting.”

These individual differences are what matter to Patalano.

“There’s a lot of uniformity in the way people read,” she says. “When people are making decisions, there’s a lot more variation in behavior.”

Research suggesting that indecisive individuals utilized more information when trying to make a decision compared to decisive individuals. However, there had been conflicting findings reported in the scientific literature. The two researchers decided to look at the issue more closely themselves using an eye-movement study

For the study, 54 Wesleyan students were studied as they completed a hypothetical course selection activity. Patalano had asked subjects do course selection tasks in the past. Originally, she used a paper-based exam and transferred the test to a computer, but there was no precision eye-tracker involved in the data sampling.

For the eye-tracking course selection study, the course titles and attributes were placed on a grid and the EyeLink 1000 machine sampled participants’ eye positions every millisecond as the selection tasks were done. The data were captured and recorded.

Students were told to imagine that they had one course left to select in order to complete their class schedules and all of the presented classes would fit into their weekly schedule. Participants had to choose among five courses, labeled Courses A through E and these courses differed on the following qualities: Meeting Time, Instructor Quality, Amount of Work, Usefulness for Goals and Interest in Topic. The courses were similar in quality and the students could only pick one course. One group of participants was allowed to delay their choice while another was not given that option.

After the participants completed the course selection task, they rated themselves on a standard indecisiveness scale.

It took just under two years for Patalano, Juhasz, and undergraduate research assistant Joanna Dicke ‘10 to complete their groundbreaking research. And that was not because they were indecisive. There were simply so much data to evaluate.

The results of the study suggested three major findings.

First, there was a difference in the way people scanned the information. While decisive people narrow down a decision based on a particular attribute, indecisive people take in all of the information. Decisive people might say that all of these courses have good and bad attributes, but they selected an attribute that was most important; indecisive people saw that all information had some good and bad points.

Secondly, indecisive individuals divided their time over a greater number of attributes of their course. The decisive participants focused on fewer attributes in order to make their decision. Interestingly, indecisive individuals spent more time overall looking at nothing, that is, they looked at the blank cells in the grid while (apparently) trying to make a decision. The researchers were not sure why the indecisive individuals spent more time looking at blank spaces, but theorized that doing so allowed them to ruminate or reframe their choices before making a decision.

Patalano said that applying eye tracking to decision-making research was a relatively new methodology for individuals who study how people come to final conclusions on things like buying a car, choosing an insurance plan or selecting a college course.

This research and subsequent studies could lead to the creation of strategies to assist people who far too often struggle with decision-making.

To read the entire journal article, titled “The Relationship Between Indecisiveness and Eye Movement Patterns in a Decision Making Informational Search Task” from The Journal of Behavioral Decision Making go here.

Pomper to Retire in 2010 after Nearly a Half Century at Wesleyan

Philip Pomper will retire in 2010 but plans to continue his research on Russia.

Philip Pomper will retire in 2010 but plans to continue his research on Russia.

Professor of History Philip Pomper is making history of his own as he plans to retire from Wesleyan after 46 years in May 2010.

Pomper came to Wesleyan after graduating from the University of Chicago with a doctoral degree. He had enjoyed the seminar style classes at Chicago and looked forward to teaching seminars at Wesleyan.

“I always dreamed of joining the faculty of a small liberal arts institution,” Pomper says.

Not only did Pomper have an idea for the type of institution he was drawn to, he was compelled to be a professor even in high school.

“After the usual fantasies about an athletic career I think I always wanted to be a college professor,” Pomper says. “My high school buddies used to call me ‘Professor.’ In my teens I encountered Enlightenment ideals and believed that if anything could save us from self-destruction it would have to take the form of the deep self-examination of our species and a progressive historical process. Growing up during World War II and the Holocaust probably made me precociously serious about such things.”

Pomper originally wanted to study French revolutionary history, but his interest in Russia was sparked in the summer of 1957 as he and some friends explored another continent.

“Two friends and I hitchhiked, bicycled, and motored through Europe,” he recalls. “In August we were sleeping in cow pastures in the English Lake District near

Courtney Fullilove: Historian Specializing in 19th-Century United States

Courtney Fullilove, assistant professor of history, will teach  a course on the history of drugs and medicines, and "Confidence and Panic in 19th Century U.S. Economic Life" during the spring 2010 semester. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Courtney Fullilove, assistant professor of history, will teach a course on the history of drugs and medicines, and "Confidence and Panic in 19th Century U.S. Economic Life" during the spring 2010 semester. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Courtney Fullilove has joined the History Department as assistant professor. She specializes in research related to the study the development of technical knowledge in the fields of agriculture, medicine, and manufacturing in the 18th and 19th century United States.

A graduate of Columbia University’s Ph.D program in history, Fullilove was attracted to Wesleyan for many reasons, among them its historical significance and liberal arts idealism. She says that being a part of a place where “everyone is creative and engaged” is satisfying to her.

“I’m a historian, so I like to think about the fact that Wesleyan was founded as a tiny bastion of Methodism in the 1830s, ” she says. “There’s a way in which Wesleyan retains the best qualities of small 19th century religious and Utopian communities: it has purpose, and people believe in being here.”

In terms of her work, Fullilove has broad interests that focus on one specific purpose: “people’s access to the things they need to live: food, medicine, clothes, shelter.”

“Since human necessities often entail a lot of know-how in addition to material resources,” she says. “I’m interested in how the know-how has been organized over time, and who has had control of it. Much of my recent work has involved the U.S. Patent Office in some way, but patents are just one legal mechanism to secure ownership of knowledge, which is my real interest.”

Fullilove researches how “farmers made seeds and plows, and how local healers made tinctures and poultices.” She uncovers “the ways local knowledge was codified, represented, or effaced in institutions of commerce and law.”

5 Questions with . . . J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, examines how "blood racialization" defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we feature 5 Questions with… J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology.

Q. How did you become interested in your area of study?
JKK: My area of study is related to researching the history of U.S. imperialism in the Pacific Islands. Researching indigenous issues in Hawai`i, I found it necessary to study how the U.S. government has treated Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) in light of its U.S. federal policy on American Indians and Alaska Natives. The policy is convoluted. The U.S. government has alternately classified Kanaka Maoli, as well as other Native Pacific Islanders under the Asian or “Asian Pacific” category, but since 1906, Kanaka Maoli have also specifically been included in over 160 legislative acts that apply to American Indians. This contradiction has pushed me to better understand U.S. racial formations and indigenous sovereignty politics. This has led me to other research areas, including settler colonialism, self-determination, decolonization, and international law.

Q. What was the most interesting aspect of researching and writing your recent book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity?
JKK: My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. Blood racialization is the process by which racial meaning is ascribed—in this case to Kanaka Maoli – through ideologies of blood quantum. The contemporary

Pfister’s The Yale Indian Profiles Roe Cloud

New book by Joel Pfister.

New book by Joel Pfister.

American history has almost completely edited out Henry Roe Cloud from its story, even though this full-blood Winnebago was one of the most accomplished and celebrated American Indians in the first half of the twentieth century.  Joel Pfister’s The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud corrects this omission.

Pfister, chair of the English Department and the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, and former chair of the American Studies Program, began exploring American Indian archives when he was a Yale doctoral student in the 1980s and started his research on Yale’s Roe Cloud letters in 1995.  Very little has been published about the experiences of the few American Indians who beat tremendous odds to make it to college in the early 1900s.  Pfister aimed to find out more about the undergraduate years of one of the most inspiring advocates of higher education for Native Americans.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Roe Cloud’s graduation from Yale College in 1910.  His portrait does not hang in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library,

Novelist Cantor, President Roth Speak on Middle-Class Politics

Wesleyan’s Sociology Department, The Hoy Fund and The Wesleyan Writing Programs sponsored “Martyrdom, Mirth, and Mayhem in Middle-Class Politics: A Conversation with Novelist Jay Cantor and President Michael S. Roth,” Nov. 18 in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. Cantor is the author of Great Neck, The Death of Che Guevara and Krazy Kat, along with two collections of non-fiction essays, The Space Between: Literature and Politics and On Giving Birth to Ones Own Mother. Cantor, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, is professor of English at Tufts University. President Roth and Cantor discussed their mutual admiration for late Norman O. “Nobby” Brown, professor emeritus of humanities at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Brown taught at Wesleyan after World War II and chaired the Classics Department.

Cantor was one of Brown’s graduate students and President Roth was greatly influenced by Brown’s Life Against Death and Love’s Body. Roth shared that one of Brown’s memorable statements was “You shouldn’t receive your education, you should find it,” therefore, when he taught in the Public Affairs Center in the 1950s he expected students to find him before he could start class. The speakers also discussed the influence of education, class, Jewishness and geography (both are from Long Island, Cantor from Great Neck and Roth from Massapequa) on writing.

Here are some photos of the event: (Photos by Stefan Weinberg ’10)

College of Social Studies Celebrates 50 years at Wesleyan

Cecilia Miller, associate professor of history, co-chair and tutor in the College of Social Studies; Richard Adelstein, professor of economics and tutor in the College of Social Studies; and Brian Fay, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, tutor in the College of Social Studies and editor of History and Theory, gather at the College of Social Studies 50th Anniversary lecture Nov. 6.

Cecilia Miller, associate professor of history, co-chair and tutor in the College of Social Studies; Richard Adelstein, professor of economics and tutor in the College of Social Studies; and Brian Fay, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, tutor in the College of Social Studies and editor of History and Theory, gather at the College of Social Studies 50th Anniversary lecture Nov. 6.

From its beginnings in 1959, Wesleyan’s College of Social Studies (CSS) has grown into a well-respected program and is celebrating its 50th year in 2009. The multidisciplinary program allows students to explore the subjects of government, history, economics and philosophy concurrently. Many attended lectures and celebrations for CSS during Homecoming/Family Weekend last weekend.

The first event of the weekend was a CSS Public Lecture by John Goldberg (CSS 1983, professor of Law, Harvard Law School) on Friday, Nov.  6. His talk was titled “John Locke on Tort Reform (Really!): A CSS Parable.”  John Goldberg was introduced by Brian Fay, the William Griffin professor of philosophy. Richard Adelstein, professor of economics, gave the response.

Peter Kilby, professor of economics, emeritus, chaired a CSS Alum Speaker Panel on CSS Entrepreneurs on Saturday, Nov. 7. The panelists included Steve Torok ’73, Donald Zilkha ’73, Lincoln Frank ’79, and Jonathan Bush ’93. A second Alum Speaker Panel, on International Affairs, was chaired by Andrew Crawford ’97, and included panelists Bob Hunter ’62, John Stremlau ’66, Carl Robichaud ’99 and Michael Brotchner ’95.

“What impressed me the most was the way in which speaker after speaker mentioned, with specific examples, how the method of study in the CSS continued to profoundly shape the way they handled their jobs in their subsequent career, whether it be a public defender or a venture capitalist,” said Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought and CSS Co-Chair, who attended the event.

“Skills such as being able to write quickly and clearly; and to see many sides of a problem, and integrate them in a single analysis served CSS students well after graduation,” he recounts.

Along with Fay, Adelstein, Kilby (who retired last year), and Rutland, core professors in the CSS within the past 20 years include Cecilia Miller, associate professor of history and CSS Co-Chair; Bill Barber, Andrews Professor of Economics, Emeritus; the late David Titus, professor of government, Emeritus; David Morgan, professor of history, Emeritus; Don Moon, Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professor in the College of Social Studies and professor of government; Nancy Schwartz, professor of government; Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government; Gil Skillman, chair and professor of economics; Joyce Jacobsen, Andrews Professor of Economics; and Erik Grimmer-Solem, associate professor of history and director of the Public Affairs Center.

According to the program description, the College of Social Studies “was created in the belief that the various social studies can best be pursed together, rather than in isolation, and that the student will better understand the subject matter and the nature of each discipline by considering it in its relation to the other disciplines, and to develop a sense of methodological criticism supported by work in philosophy.”

Former Wesleyan President Victor Butterfield crafted the plan for the CSS along with the College of Letters (also celebrating 50 years) and the College of Quantitative Studies, which disbanded in the 1960’s. Butterfield believed strongly in the importance of interdisciplinary studies.

“The curriculum stresses fundamental techniques of analysis in economics, history, and government, as well as their application in the subject matter of those fields. Precision in writing and speaking is stressed in essays and class work. A number of lectures and seminars provide a sense of community that balances the educational aspect of the College,” the program description states.

Throughout the years, CSS has produced more than 930 graduates including John Driscoll, who currently works as the University Relations Alumni Director. Driscoll graduated from Wesleyan in class of 1962 and was a member of the very first CSS class.

“In the beginning the CSS was the unstructured part of Wesleyan,” Driscoll says. “The ‘normal’ parts of Wesleyan were filled with requirements, grades, and regular tests. That may seem odd today, but then we were looked on with a mixture of curiosity, envy and resentment because while others were sweating through the regular grind, we weren’t. At least not in the same way. We were “free” of the superficial preoccupation with grades; we could focus on learning for its own sake. And for us the ability to focus on one tutorial for ten weeks along with a colloquium on epistemology each week was true liberation.”

CSS graduates have gone on to excel in a range of fields, including government service, law, business, the arts and even medicine. CSS graduates have also been well represented on the Wesleyan Board of Trustees, and in recent years the Board has included four or more CSS alumni.