Frederic Wills '19

Higgins’ Matinee Melodrama Delves into the Genre of Adventure Serials

Scott Higgins author of new book, Matinee Melodrama

ProductImageHandler.ashxScott Higgins, professor of film and chair of the College of Film and the Moving Image, is the author of a new book titled, Matinee Melodrama: Playing with Formula in the Sound Serial, published in February 2016 by Rutgers University Press.

Higgins newest work delves into the genre of adventure serials as a distinct art form, unwrapping its different elements and what makes adventure serials so successful. Intrigued by the active, dedicated fan culture, Higgins suggests that serial’s incoherent plotting and reliance on formula, as well as, the use of other cinematic elements such as, stock characters and cliffhangers, are actually some of the genre’s most appealing attributes, not faults. The earliest forms of this genre, including before Batman, Flash Gordon, or the Lone Ranger had their own TV shows, laid the groundwork for today’s blockbusters like, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Tomb.

As the first book about the adventure serial, Matinee Melodrama examines the nature of suspense, the aesthetics of action, and the potentials of formulaic narrative, while giving readers the opportunity to analyze everything from Zorro’s Fighting Legion to Daredevils of the Red Circle.     

Grossman to Advise Queen’s University’s Economic Programs

At Queen’s University, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Richard Grossman, professor of economics, was appointed to the International Advisory Board of Queen’s University Center for Economic History, where he will advise on the university’s many economic programs. Grossman also served as an external examiner on a PhD thesis titled, “Bears and Bubbles in Financial Markets: Essays on the British Bicycle Mania,” at Queen’s University.

Grossman also presented his co-authored papers “Beresford’s Revenge: British equity holdings in Latin America, 1869-1929,” and “Long-Run Patters and Shifts in Wealth—Insights from Irish Share Prices since 1825,” Sept. 1-2 at the 6th Eurhistock Conference, a conference focusing on the history of the European stock market.

Public Affairs, Progressive News Coverage New to WESU 88.1 FM’s Fall Programming

WESU 88.1 FM recently kicked off its 2016-2017 season with a new and improved fall program. With a mixture of both new and old radio shows, the fall programming boasts a diverse blend of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and other independent and local media sources. Changes to their fall programming include, the addition of a much anticipated daily public affairs program from Pacifica called “Rising up with Sonali,” which brings progressive news coverage, rooted in gender and racial justice, to a wide audience. They also will pay tribute to Jim Mascia, a cherished, late co-host of “Best of Living Naturally,” a popular, locally produced radio show that promoted a holistic lifestyle, which aired for 10 years on WESU.

“Overall, the aim of WESU’s fall program is to maintain the eclectic, alternative, and funky mix of music and talk radio that makes WESU so unique,” said Ben Michael, WESU general manager.

Established in 1939 as a community service of Wesleyan, WESU is one of the oldest, non-commercial radio stations in the U.S. While its daytime programming consists of news and public affairs, weeknights and weekends offer a freeform blend of creative music programming, featuring everything from rock and hip-hop, to jazz and electronic dance music. To learn more about WESU, including listen to a live stream, find contact information, see DJ playlists and the program guide, visit www.wesufm.org.

Jili ’16 to Study Public Policy, International Relations as Yenching Scholar in China

Bulelani Jili '16

Bulelani Jili ’16

Bulelani Jili ’16 has been named a Yenching Scholar for 2016. This fully funded and prestigious postgraduate program is run by Peking University in Beijing, China. Initiated in 2014, the Yenching Academy program invites exceptional postgraduates from around the globe to engage in interdisciplinary study on ancient, modern and contemporary China in the humanities and the social sciences.

Yenching Scholars are granted the flexibility to create their own study paths by choosing from six academic concentrations and a variety of extracurricular activities. Studying at the Academy represents a unique opportunity not only for intercultural and academic exchange, but also for personal and professional development.

While undertaking a one-year program in Chinese Studies at the academy, Jili intends to concentrate in public policy and international relations.

“I am greatly interested in examining more closely issues pertaining to governance and educational policies in China and South Africa,” Jili said. “This study is especially relevant because of South Africa’s and China’s new and promising relationship.”

Crosby’s Memoir Chronicles Life with Pain, Rebuilding after Suffering

9781479833535_FullProfessor of English Christina Crosby is the author of a new book published by NYU Press in March 2016. Titled, A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain, the novel chronicles her encounter with pain, which left her paralyzed.

Three miles into a 17-mile bike ride, the spokes of her bike caught a branch, pitching her forward and off the bike. With her chin taking on the full force of the blow, her head snapped back leaving her paralyzed.

This event, as she makes note of in her novel, opened her eyes to the beauty, yet fragility of all human bodies. Her memoir tells of the importance of “living on,” and rebuilding after suffering.

Owoyemi ’18 to Study in Russia as Critical Language Scholar

Praise Owoyemi '18

Praise Owoyemi ’18

Praise Owoyemi ’18 has been chosen for the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia this summer.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program under the U.S. Department of State, which American undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to apply for. CLS is dedicated to broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, as well as building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries. CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

Owoyemi started studying Russian when she arrived at Wesleyan. Despite many comments she received from peers on the difficulty of the language, she challenged herself and found it was an incredibly exciting language to study. She decided to apply for the CLS program because she felt that “being immersed in a Russin speaking environment would improve her Russian speaking and comprehension skills.” She hopes to expand upon all she already knows, through both formal, classroom instruction and informal, day-to-day experiences.

“I was really surprised when I found out I had been selected as a recipient for the program, but I am incredibly excited to experience Russian culture. I’m also really excited to stay with a host family because that will help me to interact with others in the language and not just revert back to English,” she said.

Owoyemi is double majoring in psychology and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. She enjoys studying Russian literature.

Free Drawing Workshops Offered at 5th Annual Big Draw

On April 16, the Friends of the Davison Art Center presented “The Big Draw: Middletown,” the fifth annual community celebration of drawing with workshops designed for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists. The event took place at four locations across the campus including the Davison Art Center; the Center for the Arts; Fayerweather Beckham Hall; and the Usdan University Center.

“The Big Draw” included eight workshops facilitated by faculty and students from Wesleyan’s Art Studio Program in the Department of Art and Art History. Activities included developing narrative through drawing, drawing with inked feet to music, drawing from elaborate still lives of taxidermy and skeletons, using giant Spirograph-style drawing tools, face painting and more. Drawing study of nude models was open to adults, and minors with parental permission.

This year, “The Big Draw: Middletown” also featured a special Koinobori Project workshop led by Japanese artist Taichiro Takamatsu, who founded the project in 2012, and has led workshops creating carp flags in Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

More than 375 local artists participated, up from 286 in 2015. Forty-nine Wesleyan faculty, alumni, students and community members volunteered to teach participants and help run the program.

“The Big Draw: Middletown” is organized and hosted by the Friends of the Davison Art Center, with grant support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; and special funding for the Koinobori Project from the Community Foundation for Middlesex County in conjunction with the Center for the Arts “Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter.”

Other sponsors included Blick Art Materials, Community Health Center, CT Yoga Center, Middletown Framing, It’s Only Natural Market, Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middletown Toyota, Mondo Pizza, Munkittrick Associates, Nobul Apparel, Tesoro Artisan Gift Boutique & Gallery, and Ursel’s Web.

WTNH Channel 8 featured the event as one of eight fun things to do in Connecticut on the morning news on Friday, April 15, with live broadcasts.

(Photos below by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19). View additional photos on the Big Draw Facebook page.

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Guiney ’77 Wins Freedom Through Literacy Award

Sue Rappaport Guiney ’77 and her organization, Writing Through, received one of six prestigious international Freedom Through Literacy award. Hosted by Judith’s Reading Room, an organization that provides literature to those who do not have access to it, the competition will donate $1,000 to the work of Writing Through. Guiney and the five other recipients will be honored at a dinner co-sponsored by the Colonial Association of Reading Educators (C.A.R.E.) in May.

A novelist, poet and educator, Guiney founded Writing Through as a way to develop English fluency, conceptual thinking, and self-esteem through the creative writing process. She began on a volunteer trip to Cambodia, teaching workshops to children from an educational shelter.

Sue Rappaport Guiney ’77, founder of Writing Through, leads an English creative writing class in Cambodia.

Sue Rappaport Guiney ’77, founder of Writing Through, leads an English creative writing class in Cambodia.

From that trip, she found inspiration for  the first in her collection of novels set in modern day Cambodia, A Clash of Innocents. The second in the collection, Out of the Ruins, was published in 2014. Determined to give back to the people who inspired her, Guiney expanded those initial workshops into an organization that targets at-risk and underserved populations. It offers both students and adults, in schools and NGOs throughout Cambodia, the opportunity to learn to express themselves in written English.

She has garnered international attention for this work. From 2011-2013, she was Writer-in-Residence in the SE Asia Department of The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the world’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And the organization continues to grow: Later this year, Guiney will expand the Writing Through program into Singapore—and she has been receiving requests for the program from sites in Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia.

Guiney explained her commitment in a “Letter Home” article published in the Wesleyan Magazine (2013, issue 2): “Through writing, I am helping the children of Cambodia find their places in the future, find a future for their country, find their own self-esteem and exercise their otherwise untapped abilities in conceptual thinking.”

Students Inducted into American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

Six Wesleyan students were inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) honor society this year. Helena Awad ’16, Noah Hamlish ’16, Selin Kutlu ’16, Melanie Parziale ’16, Julianne Riggs ’17, and Zarek Siegel ’16 were honored with this prestigious award for exceptional work in biochemistry and molecular biology.

The ASBMB Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences for their scholarly achievement, research accomplishments, and outreach activities. The mission of the society is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, promotion of the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce, and publication of a number of scientific and educational journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Lipid Research.

Winners of this award have the ability to present their research at the 2017 annual ASBMB annual meeting, being held in Chicago.

WESU Hosts Spring Record Fair April 10

WESUWESU, Wesleyan’s radio station, is hosting its annual Spring Record Fair in Beckham Hall on April 10. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., vendors from across the greater Connecticut area will be selling rare records and CDs. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to not only browse through hundreds of records, CDs, posters, and T-shirts, but also enjoy WESU DJs spinning vinyl live.

WESU is one of the oldest non­commercial radio stations in the United States. It offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources on weekdays; weeknights and weekends are dedicated to Wesleyan students and community volunteer broadcasters, who provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

Tune in to 88.1 FM or online at www.wesufm.org.

Sumarsam Named Fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies

Sumarsam

Sumarsam

Professor of Music Sumarsam was named as a fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 2015-2016 fellowship competition. He was chosen as one of 69 fellows from a pool of nearly 1,100 applicants through a rigorous, multi-stage peer review process. As a fellow, Sumarsam will receive the opportunity to spend six to 12 months researching and writing full time on the project of his choosing, the support of the ACLS’s endowment.

The ACLS is dedicated to supporting scholars in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. Matthew Goldfeder, director of fellowship programs at ACLS, said, “The fellows’ projects exhibit great disciplinary, temporal, geographic, and methodological diversity. This year’s cohort, moreover, includes several independent scholars as well as faculty of all ranks, on and off the tenure track, from more than 50 colleges and universities, working on projects that peer reviewers deemed best poised to make original and significant contributions to knowledge.”

Sumarsam’s project, titled, “Expressing and Contesting Java-Islam Encounters: Performing Arts at the Crossroads,” examined the link between religion and culture in an Indonesian society and how the performing arts bolsters that link. He delves into “Javanese culture, the largest cultural group in a nation with the largest Muslim population, and analyzes discourses of trans-culturalism, the performing arts, and Islam.” The study “addresses the history and diversity of both traditional and popular Indonesian -Muslim expression, while unpacking Indonesia’s modern socio-cultural and religious development.”

Wright ’77 Elected to American Pediatric Society

Dr. Joseph L. Wright ’77, MD, was elected to the American Pediatric Society.

Dr. Joseph L. Wright ’77, MD, was elected to the American Pediatric Society.

Dr. Joseph Wright ’77, MD, MPH, and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at Howard University College of Medicine, was recently elected to the American Pediatric Society (APS).

“Election to the APS is a special honor,” said Wright, noting that membership provides a platform for him to further, not only “Howard’s commitment to outstanding patient care and service to the community,” but also the missions of the numerous national advisory bodies he serves on, including the Department of Transportation’s National EMS Advisory Council, the American Hospital Association’s Maternal and Child Health Council, the March of Dimes’ Public Policy Advisory Council, and recently, as an Obama Administration appointee to the Food and Drug Administration’s Pediatric Advisory Committee.

He was a psychology major at Wesleyan.