David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu

Angle Authors Book on Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy

Book by Stephen Angle.

Book by Stephen Angle.

Stephen Angle is the author of Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy, published by Polity in 2012. Angle is professor of philosophy, professor of East Asian studies, and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Confucian political philosophy has recently emerged as a vibrant area of thought both in China and around the globe. This book provides an accessible introduction to the main perspectives and topics being debated today, and shows why Progressive Confucianism is a particularly promising approach. Students of political theory or contemporary politics will learn that far from being confined to a museum, contemporary Confucianism is both responding to current challenges and offering insights from which we can all learn.

The Progressive Confucianism defended here takes key ideas of the 20th-century Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909–1995) as its point of departure for exploring issues like political authority and legitimacy, the rule of law, human rights, civility, and social justice. The result is anti-authoritarian without abandoning the ideas of virtue and harmony; it preserves the key values Confucians find in ritual and hierarchy without giving in to oppression or domination. A central goal of the book is to present Progressive Confucianism in such a way as to make its insights manifest to non-Confucians, be they philosophers or simply citizens interested in the potential contributions of Chinese thinking to our emerging, shared world.

Wesleyan U. Press Publishes Lucier’s Notes on Experimental Music Book

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Alvin Lucier, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, is the author of Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music, published by Wesleyan University Press, 2012.

In this insider’s view, composer and performer Lucier brings clarity to the world of experimental music as he takes the reader through more than a hundred groundbreaking musical works, including those of Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Christian Wolff and La Monte Young.

Lucier explains in detail how each piece is made, unlocking secrets of the composers’ style and technique. The book as a whole charts the progress of American experimental music from the 1950s to the present, covering such topics as indeterminacy, electronics, and minimalism, as well as radical innovations in music for the piano, string quartet and opera.

Whitmore ’62 Co-Edits Essential Anthology About Vietnamese History

Book co-edited by John Whitmore '62.

Book co-edited by John Whitmore ’62.

John Whitmore ’62 has co-edited Sources of Vietnamese Tradition (Columbia University Press), a fascinating guide to 2,000 years of Vietnamese history and a comprehensive overview of the society and state of Vietnam. Well-chosen selections deal with key figures, issues, and events, and they create a thematic portrait of the country’s developing territory, politics, culture and relations with neighbors. The volume explores Vietnam’s remarkable independence in the face of Chinese and other external pressures while it recognizes the complexity of the Vietnamese experience over the years.

The anthology begins with selections that cover more than a millennium of Chinese dominance over Vietnam (111 B.C.E.–939 C.E.) and follows with texts that illuminate four centuries of independence ensured by the Ly, Tran and Ho dynasties (1009–1407). The earlier cultivation of Buddhism and Southeast Asian political practices by the monarchy gave way to two centuries of Confucian influence and bureaucratic governance (1407–1600), based on Chinese models, and three centuries of political competition between the north and the south, resolving in the latter’s favor (1600–1885).

The book’s final sections cover the colonial era and the modern age, and selections recount the ravages of war and the creation of a united, independent Vietnam in 1975. Each chapter includes readings that relate to the views, customs, outside influences on, and religious and philosophical beliefs of a rapidly changing people and culture.

Whitmore is a research associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, and a specialist on premodern Vietnamese and Southeast Asian history. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Virginia and the University of California-Los Angeles.

Rahaim ’00 Examines Gesture and Voice in Indian Vocal Music

Matthew Rahaim ’00

In Musicking Bodies: Gesture and Voice in Hindistani Music (Wesleyan University Press), Matthew Rahaim ’00 studies the role of the body in Indian vocal music. Indian vocalists have long traced intricate shapes with their hands while improvising melody. Although every vocalist has an idiosyncratic gestural style, students inherit ways of shaping melodic space from their teachers, and the motion of the hand and voice are always intimately connected.

Book by Matthew Rahaim ’00

Musicking Bodies is among the first extended studies of the relationship between gesture and melody. Rahaim draws on years of vocal training, ethnography, and close analysis to examine the ways in which hand gesture is used alongside vocalization to manifest melody as dynamic, three-dimensional shapes. The book builds on insights of phenomenology, Indian and Western music theory, and cultural studies to illuminate not only the performance of gesture, but its implications for the transmission of culture, the conception of melody, and the very nature of the musicking body. Several helpful illustrations and photographs have been included in the publication.

Rahaim is an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota. He was a music major at Wesleyan and received his MA and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Silverman MAT ’67 Takes Fresh Look at Johnny Appleseed Legend

(Story contributed by Laignee Johnson ’13)

Book by Ray Silverman MAT ’67

Was Johnny Appleseed a real person? Author and professor Ray Silverman MAT ’67 addresses this question and and many others about the American folk figure in his new book, The Core of Johnny Appleseed: The Unknown Story of a Spiritual Trailblazer (Swedenborg Foundation Press). Silverman’s spiritual biography of Johnny Chapman, the man who came to be known as Johnny Appleseed, seeks to separate reality from legend and find the real man behind all the tall-tale misconceptions. The book depicts Chapman as a businessman full of Christian conviction.

Silverman leaves behind portraits of Chapman as a wandering ascetic or wild hedonist and instead charts the course of a thoughtful and passionate Christian, deeply moved by and dedicated to sharing the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg. As a businessman, Chapman owned 19 nurseries and 20 other land plots in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.  As a Christian, Chapman was dissatisfied with the teachings of the Congregational Church and turned instead to spreading the doctrines of the New Church. In contrast to Calvinist-influenced manifest destiny, beliefs of predestination, and heaven and hell, Chapman believed instead that God means love and that all people were created in God’s image and are deserving of God’s love.

Well-researched and illustrated, the book provides a new perspective on the Johnny Appleseed of childhood legends.

Silverman is the associate professor of religion, English, and moral philosophy at Bryn Athyn College and is an adjunct instructor at Urbana University, home to the Johnny Appleseed Education Center and the Chapman School of Leadership in Sustainability. This is Silverman’s second book in addition to editing Helen Keller’s spiritual autobiography Light in My Darkness.

Asimov ’79 Shares Memoir and Manifesto about Wine

Eric Asimov ’79

In his new book How to Love Wine (William Morrow), The New York Times chief wine critic Eric Asimov ‘79 examines why the American wine culture produces feelings of anxiety and suggests how readers can overcome their fears and develop a sense of discovery and wonder as they explore the diversity and complexity of the world of wine. Asimov shares his professional knowledge and insights along with personal stories of his lifelong passionate relationship with wine, which began when he was a graduate student on a budget.

Book by Eric Asimov ’79

Asimov discusses favorite vineyards, wine’s singular personalities, meaningless wine descriptions that often pass for criticism today, and current wine issues. He offers discussions of easy to find and rare wonderful vintages from around the globe, and shares thoughts on those wines that have been particularly meaningful to him. The book aims to help others fine pleasure, enjoyment, and refreshment when encountering wine.

Asimov comments: “This book is part manifesto and part memoir, a gathering of impressions through experience. I don’t imagine for a moment it will tear apart our entrenched wine culture. … The idea is to start a discussion, and a reconsideration. I do believe I am asking the right questions, and if I can pull a thread on the crazy-quilt of established dogma, accepted principles, and so-called facts that rule our wine culture, I will feel that I have done my job.”

Interview with Eric Asimov in The Daily Beast

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Arnold ’91 Pens Book about Classic Film Lawrence of Arabia

Jeremy Arnold ’91

Writer and filmmaker Jeremy Arnold ’91 is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary, published by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This special hardbound coffee table book is included in the recently released Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray box set, also released by Sony. The 88-page publication contains full-color photographs, a history of the epic film’s significance, insight into the making of the movie (directed by David Lean), and editorial pieces by film directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. The book is only available in this package and will not be sold separately. It also has been translated into four languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian).

Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary 4K Restoration Trailer

Baron ’77 Honored for Information and Records Management

Jason Baron '77

Jason Baron ’77

(Story contributed by Gabe Rosenberg ’16)

Jason Baron ’77, director of Litigation at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, is the 2011 recipient of the Emmett Leahy Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Information and Records Management Profession. Baron is the first federal lawyer, and only the second lawyer, to receive this international award in its 40-year history.

The Emmett Leahy Award Committee announced that for over two decades, Baron’s leadership efforts have promoted an awareness of the importance of good records management to the legal profession. He has served as co-chair and editor-in-chief of three publications by The Sedona Conference©, a nonprofit research and educational institute dedicated to the study of various fields related to complex litigation, including e-discovery. He is the author of more than 40 articles on electronic records issues, and has made more than 300 presentations on related subjects at conferences and workshops throughout the United States and the world.

Baron, a 1980 graduate of Boston University School of Law, also recently received the 2012 D.C. Public Service Award from his law school for his 32-year career in the federal government. Prior to his position at NARA, Baron was a trial lawyer and senior counsel at the Department of Justice, where he served as lead counsel on landmark litigation involving the preservation of White House email.

Baron helped found the TREC Legal Track, an international research project run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, evaluating search methods used by lawyers, as well as the DESI Workshop Series, an international forum for academics and lawyers to discuss e-discovery, information retrieval, and artificial intelligence.

Currently, Baron serves on the Adjunct Faculty of the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, where he co-taught the first e-discovery course to Ph.D and Masters candidates in the United States. He presently also serves on the Board of Directors of ARMA International, and is a member of the advisory board for the Georgetown Law Center Advanced E-Discovery Institute.

During his time at Wesleyan, Baron double majored in government and English, where, apropos of his future career, he was awarded honors for his government thesis on the subject of privacy issues associated with a database of electronic records maintained by the FBI.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Shane ’05 and Wilson ’05 Awarded Grant for New Documentary

Filmmakers Martha Shane ’05 and Lana Wilson ’05

Martha Shane ’05 and Lana Wilson ’05 have received a coveted grant from the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund for their feature-length documentary After Tiller, which they directed and produced. The film deals with the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller as the last four late-term abortion doctors in America confront harassment from protestors, challenges in their personal lives, and a series of tough ethical decisions.

After Tiller is one of five films that received this year’s grants, which are awarded to “projects that illuminate pressing problems in the United States.”

This year the International Documentary Association received grant applications from 216 filmmakers from across the United States and around the world. Submissions were judged on their objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, and high production values, as well as the reflection of the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz’s work.

“This support comes at a crucial time for us–we have just begun submitting cuts of the film to festivals, and are now completing the original score with our composers, and preparing for color correction and sound mixing in December,” Shane and Wilson said. “With this grant, we now have only $71K left to raise to cover all of our finishing costs.”

If you are interested in making a donation to the film, click here.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Forney ’89 Writes Graphic Novel on Bipolar Disorder

Ellen Forney ’89 (Photo by Jacob Peter Fennell)

(Story contributed by Laignee Barron ’13)

Ellen Forney ’89 is the author of a new graphic novel Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me (Gotham Books), which follows the artist’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder shortly before her 30th birthday. In this intimate confession, Forney delves into her struggles with being accepted into “Club van Gogh.” “This unflinchingly honest memoir” (Kirkus Reviews) details Forney’s fears that her disorder could curtail her creativity and livelihood.

Beginning with the manic state that led to her diagnosis, Forney explores what it means to be a “crazy artist.” At first disbelieves her psychiatrist, Forney is filled with the high of mania, planning parties and keeping busy with cartooning work in an unnervingly productive binge. (“I don’t want balance, I want brilliance,” she exclaims.) But the manic cycle eventually breaks, and Forney continues chronicling her experience as she descends into a violent episode of depression. She eventually becomes convinced of her diagnosis and decides to enter the endless experimentation to find the right dosage or cocktail of medication.

The novel alternates between Forney’s bold cartoonish comics, realist illustrations, and photo-like representations of her sketchpad. At once heartbreaking and unabashedly funny, Forney’s novel was written with the intention to share her journey with others facing similar circumstances. This new novel closely illuminates the struggles of a bipolar woman, while provoking questions of what mental disorders means to artists.

Graphic novel by Ellen Forney ’89

In her Entertainment Weekly review, Melissa Maerz writes that “the book is surprisingly fun to read, bursting with manic adventures (illicit hookups! costume parties! spontaneous tattoos!), cautionary tales (one emotional crash leaves her in a forest, hugging a tree), and wild drawings that perfectly illustrate her mood swings. By the time [Forney] finds the right treatment, Marbles isn’t just a great story; it’s proof that artists don’t have to be tortured to be brilliant.”

Forney is an Eisner-nominated cartoonist living in Seattle, Washington. She has created two other comic books, I Love Led Zeppelin and Monkey Food. She also collaborated with Sherman Alexie on the National Book Award-winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. She teaches comics at the Cornish College of the Arts.

Visit the Ellen Forney website.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Stauffer ’91 Co-Edits Book on Reponses to John Brown Raid

John Stauffer ’91

(Story contributed by Gabe Rosenberg ’16)

Harvard University professor John Stauffer ’91 is the co-editor of The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harper’s Ferry Raid (Belnap Press of Harvard University Press). Co-edited with Zoe Trodd (professor of American literature at the University of Nottingham), the book assembles a collection of responses to John Brown’s 1859 attack on a federal arsenal in Virginia.

The ill-fated raid of Brown and 21 other men–five free black and 16 white men–was intended to provoke an uprising of African Americans against the “scourge of slavery.” While three members formed a rearguard at a nearby farm in Maryland, the rest of the men seized the federal buildings of Harper’s Ferry and cut the surrounding telegraph wires, waiting to be joined by local slaves. Townspeople and U.S. Marines captured or killed most of Brown’s forces, whose reinforcements never arrived, and Brown was put on trial for murder, treason, and conspiracy to incite a slave insurrection.

In a letter written four days before his execution, Brown remarks that he leaves “it to an impartial tribunal to decide whether the world has been the worse or the better of my living and dying in it.” The Tribunal brings together John Brown’s own words with Northern, Southern, and international responses to the raid in the forms of speeches, letters, newspaper articles, journals, poems, and songs.

The Tribunal, co-edited by John Stauffer ’91

His actions cast him as a contentious symbol of American culture: a martyr and a madman, a freedom fighter, and a domestic terrorist. From their collected documents, Stauffer and Trodd theorize that Harper’s Ferry changed the landscape of American politics, set the course for the Civil War, and subsequently influenced emancipation on a global scale.

Stauffer is professor of English and African and African American studies at Harvard University. His recent works include best-sellers Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and The State of Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, co-written with author Sally Jenkins, that tells the true story of Jones County, MS, the only Southern county to secede from the Confederacy.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Bissell ’88 Recognized by Forbes India as Entrepreneur with Social Impact

William Bissell ’88

William Bissell ’88, managing director of Fabindia, is the recipient of a Forbes India Leadership Award for 2012. He received the award for Entrepreneur with Social Impact. According to a recent Forbes India feature, Bissell won the award for “creating a globally recognized, profitable retail brand that has over 22,000 local artisans as its shareholders, most of whom would have lost their livelihoods if it were not for Bissell and Fabindia. And being able to make sure margins are almost three times that of the industry average.”

Bissell’s next goal is to persuade his 16 supplier companies to merge with Fabindia.

“In two to three years, all our employees and suppliers will be shareholders in Fabindia,” says Bissell.

Another Forbes India feature reported that Bissell plans to combat the junk food sold in India. He wants to increase customers’ access to organic fresh food, grown locally.

Forbes says that “he is now looking at expanding the food business on a scale never seen till now in India. Industry grapevine says that he is busy sewing up a deal, that will give him direct access to about 100 acres of agriculture land in Uttar Pradesh. This will not only add more products to the 450 items of organic food that he already sells at Fabindia outlets, but will also see him bring fresh food to the shelves.”