Lauren Rubenstein

Director of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Linda McMahon’s Downfall? Voters’ Party Loyalty

Despite spending more than $40 million in her campaign against Chris Murphy, and painting herself as an independent and moderate, Republican Linda McMahon once again was defeated in her bid for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat. In an op-ed in The Hartford CourantAssistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey writes that McMahon’s loss is reflective of a larger, nationwide decline in split-ticket voting. That is, voters now are much more loyal to one party, and less likely to choose candidates for President and Congress that belong to different political parties.

Hurricane Sandy: The New Normal?

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Gary Yohe wrote for World News Australia about the important questions raised about climate change and our future by this and other recent extreme weather events. “Are we now experiencing the ‘new normal’ climate?” he asks. He concludes that “what we have been experiencing recently is only the harbinger of a future that will be punctuated by more severe weather extremes and increasing damage – all driven as the future unfolds by past and future emissions of heat-trapping gases.”

Campaign Advertising Shatters 2004, 2008 Records

The Wesleyan Media Project’s latest study, as covered in Bloomberg and many other news outlets, reports that more than 915,000 ads have aired on broadcast and national cable television between the start of the general election period and Oct. 2–almost a 45 percent increase from this point in 2008. Moreover, these ads are concentrated in fewer battleground states than the last presidential election, meaning a small number of viewers in swing states are being bombarded with campaign ads like never before.

Read more coverage of the study in Reuters, the Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostUSA Today, PoliticoNPR’s “Morning Edition,” and CNN.

The Enduring Power of the “Monkey-to-Man” Image

Writing in The Boston Globe’s Sunday Ideas section, Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, associate professor of science and society, associate professor and chair of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, explores the enduring power of the 150-year-old “Monkey-to-Man” evolution image. Though it is universally agreed that the image is an inaccurate depiction of Darwinian evolutionary theory, it has prevailed as a “lightning rod for debate,” Tucker writes.

U.S. Backs New Industrial Park in Haiti

The Associated Press turned to Alex Dupuy, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology and a native of Haiti, for his take on a new $300 million industrial park being built in Haiti, the marquee project of the U.S. aid effort since the devastating 2010 earthquake there. Though supporters say the park has the potential to generate up to 65,000 new jobs, Dupuy warns that outside investors stand to gain more than Haitians from the project due to the tax breaks available.“This is not a strategy that is meant to provide Haiti with any measure of sustainable development … The only reason those industries come to Haiti is because the country has the lowest wages in the region,” Dupuy said.

Shasha Seminar to Focus on Music and Public Life Theme Nov. 8-9

The Shasha Seminar will offer expert articulation of the issues, from Wesleyan and Middletown to the broader arenas of American and global music today, as well as hands-on engagement with a number of world music traditions.

The Shasha Seminar will offer expert articulation of the issues, from Wesleyan and Middletown to the broader arenas of American and global music today, as well as hands-on engagement with a number of world music traditions.

The 11th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns, featuring keynote speaker, ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger, will be held on Nov. 8-9. Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, students, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

The focus of this year’s seminar is Music and Public Life. It is part of a year-long celebration of Music and Public Life taking place at Wesleyan over the 2012-13 academic year. The full schedule is online here.

Seeger’s keynote address, to be delivered at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, is called, “Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And If We Can, Should We?” Seeger is distinguished professor of ethnomusicology, emeritus, at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution. His books and published articles have focused on issues of land use and human rights for Brazilian Indians, issues of archiving and intellectual property, and ethnomusicology theory and method. He was executive producer of all recordings issued on the Smithsonian Folkways label between 1988 and 2000, a total of about 250 audio and video recordings.

Seminar participants also will be treated to concerts and will participate in musical workshops. On Nov. 9, two discussion sessions will be held on local music and national/transnational music.

Wesleyan’s Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Mark Slobin will facilitate the seminar. He is author and editor of many books on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, and ethnomusicology theory.

The registration fee is $100 per person, and includes all sessions, receptions, meals and conference materials. Seating is limited; register online here. Contact Kathy Macko at or 860-685-2737 for information on scholarship assistance.

Government’s Dancey Teaching Course on Campaigns, Elections

Logan Dancey joined the Government Department this fall. He enjoys teaching Wesleyan’s “intellectually curious” students.

Assistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey started teaching at Wesleyan this semester—the perfect time, he says, to be teaching a course on Campaigns and Elections.

“The unfolding presidential and congressional elections continually give us new events to think about as we read and discuss broader theories about the importance and meaning of campaigns and elections,” Dancey says. And though Congress has mostly ground to a halt this election season—meaning a dearth of current events to discuss in his Congressional Policymaking class—the increasing polarization in Congress has led to many interesting and important discussions in that course nevertheless.

Dancey describes the students in his classes as “intellectually curious.”

“They ask great questions and consistently show a desire to really understand a concept or theory. The students definitely keep me on my toes, but ultimately it makes class discussion more interesting and thought-provoking,” he says.

Basinger Honored in Variety’s “Women’s Impact Report 2012”

Jeanine Basinger

Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, chair of film studies, was honored in Variety magazine’s special feature edition, “Women’s Impact Report 2012. In the profile, Basinger discusses her typical work week; the often-underestimated number of hours that college professors dedicate to their jobs; her secret to work-life balance; and why she doesn’t carry a cell phone.

She says, “My worklife and my personal life are very highly integrated. Students I’ve taught have now become my friends and are a part of my life. I don’t have a problem juggling two lives, my life is coherent and it’s only one life. In a sense I’m always working and I’m never working.”

Also, in late September, Basinger’s review of Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews, a new biography of the actor, was published in The Wall Street JournalBasinger considers why Andrews, who had a long career as a leading man in film, has been relegated to a “second tier” of actors, seldom listed among the legendary male stars of the studio system.

Jenkins’ Op-Ed Published in Jakarta Post

In an op-ed published Oct. 18 in The Jakarta Post, Ronald Jenkins, professor of theater, writes about a disturbing new documentary in which “gangsters” responsible for mass murders in Indonesia from 1965-66 reenact their crimes as they remember them. “This enables audiences to witness the deaths, not as they happened, but as they are remembered by the killers,” he writes.

The documentary, “The Act of Killing” by Joshua Oppenheimer, “reveals the links between the human capacity for self-delusion and cinema’s ability to reedit the past into comforting fantasy,” writes Jenkins.

Rutland’s Op-Ed Focuses on E.U.’s Nobel Peace Prize

On Oct. 17, Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, had an op-ed published in The Moscow Times exploring whether the European Union deserves the recently awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

“Europe is certainly a more peaceful place today than at any time in its past, but does the E.U. deserve all the credit for this? Defenders of the committee’s decision argue that the E.U. has ended the centuries-old proclivity of European states to invade each other. It’s true that most of Europe has enjoyed six decades without war. But it was the Cold War, not the Brussels bureaucracy, that created and maintained the peace in Europe,” Rutland writes.

He goes on to argue that positive achievements in the E.U. must be balanced against the union’s failures in dealing with the bloody conflict in Yugoslavia during the late 1990s, and secessionist conflicts in Moldova, Azerbaijan and Georgia. He concludes, “The granting of the prize to the EU may be good politics, but it is bad history.”

China, American Election Roundtable to Include Fowler as Panelist

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, will be a panelist at a roundtable discussion at Yale University on Monday, Oct. 29. The subject is China and the American Election. Fowler will be joined by James Fallows of The Atlantic, Stephen Roach of the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and the Yale University School of Management, and Jeremy Wu of the Committee of 100, and former senior advisor to the U.S. Census Bureau. As China’s rapid development, and Sino-American relations continue to be featured in the media during the current U.S. election season, the panelists will offer their perspectives to help situate campaign appeals in the context of American attitudes toward China; Chinese perceptions of the United States; complex economic motivations; and larger campaign dynamics and electoral considerations.

The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 101 (Henry R. Luce Hall), 34 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven, Conn. It is free and open to the public. RSVP to by Oct. 26.

Charry Author of Hip Hop Africa

Book edited by Eric Charry.

Book edited by Eric Charry.

Professor of Music Eric Charry is the editor of a new book, Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World, published Oct. 23 by Indiana University Press. The book is part of the African Expressive Culture series.

Hip Hop Africa explores a new generation of Africans who are not only consumers of global musical currents, but also active and creative participants. Charry and an international group of contributors look carefully at youth culture and the explosion of hip hop in Africa; the embrace of other contemporary genres, including reggae, raga and gospel music; and the continued vitality of drumming. Covering Senegal, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa, this volume offers unique perspectives on the presence and development of hip hop and other music in Africa and their place in global music culture.

Charry is also the author of Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa, published by University of Chicago Press, 2002.