David Pesci

President Roth Gives ECSU Commencement Address

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth gave the commencement address at the 2012 commencement ceremony for Eastern Connecticut State University, reports Kathy Megan of The Hartford Courant. Among other things, Roth said to the students, “The broad, liberal education you have had at Eastern has developed your capacity for innovation and for judgment,” Roth said. “Those who can imagine how best to reconfigure existing resources and project future results will be the shapers of our economy and culture.”

Resor’s Study Seeks Better Understanding of How Earthquakes Occur

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, discussing a fault line in San Francisco, Calif.

A new study designed to give scientists a better understanding of how earthquakes occur by studying ancient faults long after the quakes are over will be led by a Wesleyan faculty member and involve at least two of his students.

Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a $246,728 NSF (National Science Foundation) grant for his study titled “Three Dimensional Characterization of a Pseudotachylyte-bearing Fault.” The grant includes funding for one thesis student for each of the next two years; Wesleyan has contributed additional funding for a second student in 2012. The study will also establish a new collaboration between Wesleyan and scientists from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), a world-renowned research institute in Italy.

The study is designed to improve the understanding of earthquakes and their effects, one of the primary goals of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Specifically, Resor and his students will be examining faults that were once located more than 4 miles below the earth’s surface, where most large earthquakes begin. The conditions were so extreme at these depths that the walls of the faults actually melted due to frictional heating, creating a fault rock geologists call pseudotachylyte.  The study will use high-resolution x-ray computed tomography, similar to medical imaging technology, to look inside these faults for evidence of ancient quakes and gain new insights into their underlying causes.

“In order to produce an earthquake slip must be rapid enough to produce high-frequency waves and sufficiently large to be detectable at the surface,” Resor says. “But seismology has been unable to resolve some key issues in earthquake mechanics. For example, earthquake slip is associated with unstable frictional sliding,

5 Questions with . . . Giulio Gallarotti on China-U.S. Relations

Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, says all nations, even our closest allies, do things that cut against our geo-strategic interests.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask 5 Questions of Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government and author of several books and scholarly articles, including The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics. Lately he has turned his attention to the U.S.-China relationship and its place in the geo-political world.

Q: Your recent work has taken you to the transition in much of the world from a Cold War stance to the coming “cold co-existence” between the U.S. and China. How would you define “cold co-existence”?

A: The future U.S. relations with China will be far different than the Cold War relationship with the U.S.S.R., even if the Chinese get closer to nuclear parity with the U.S. The two nations will be far more interdependent economically than the U.S. and Soviets; hence their fates will be far more interlocked. While we had almost no major economic ties to the Soviets during the Cold War, we are now China’s major market (we ran a $295 billion trade deficit with China in 2011) and China is our largest lender (China presently holds over $1 trillion in American assets—largely bonds). In a sense, we are each other’s principal sources of revenues: trade revenues for China and loans for the U.S. government. This economic interdependence is here to stay, however, it will be embedded in a competitive environment, which will make the two nations anything but close allies. Add to the testy economic relationship friction over human rights, Taiwan, and disagreements over territorial claims in the South China Sea; and you have enough additional negative karma to generate a very “cold” posture between the two great nations.

Q: The economic competition between the two has received heightened scrutiny in the past few years, in part because China ignores the environmental laws employed by most western nations, controls its currency and exerts wage controls on its workers. How will these behaviors affect the relationship with the U.S. and the West in the next few years?

A: The battle of ideologies between communism and capitalism is withering quickly with the depreciation of the communist ideology among both Chinese leaders and people.

Weiss Book Nominated for Lambda Literary Award

Margot Weiss

A book by Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American Studies, assistant professor of anthropology titled, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) is a finalist for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards in the LGBT Studies category.

According to the announcement nominating Weiss for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, “the Lambda Literary Award is the most prestigious book prize in the LGBT community with over 600 total nominations.”

Bonin Featured Presenter at 2 International Conferences

John Bonin

In March, John Bonin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, was a discussant regarding two papers at a conference titled “China and the World Economy,” which was held at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also participated in the board meeting for the new journal China Economic Policy Review for which he serves as an associate editor.

In June, Bonin will delivering the keynote address at the European Association of Banking and Financial History Annual Conference co-sponsored by National Bank of Romania in Bucharest, Romania. His address will be titled “Two Decades of Foreign Banking in Emerging Europe: the Devil is in the Details”

Odede ’12 Motivated by Mother, Sisters

Kennedy Odede ’12 was featured in a recent piece in The Hartford Courant discussing his mother’s impact on all he has done in the last four years. Odede came to Wesleyan from the Kibera slum of Nairobi and has since built a school, a clean water latrine, and a health center back home. He will also give the student commencement address at Wesleyan’s 2012 Commencement ceremonies. He hopes his mother is well enough to attend.

Save the Trees Kills the Rivers? Maybe

In an OpEd for The Los Angeles Times, Helen M. Poulos, a postdoctoral teaching fellow, Mellon Environmental Studies Program, and Jamie Workman, visiting professor of environmental studies, examine whether the extending of federal protection to so many millions of forested land inadvertently harmed our long-term water resources.

Wesleyan Media Project: Campaign Negativity Up

Reporting for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Peter Overby cites a new study by The Wesleyan Media Project that shows negative campaign ads have increased significantly when compared to the same period in 2008 presidential campaign. Wesleyan Media Project Director, Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, says that in addition to the rise in negative tone, “60 percent of all ads are sponsored by interest groups, which is really, truly a historic number.”

Additional stories on the study appeared in The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Politico, and WNYC in New York, among others.