Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

WESU Seeking Donations for Fall Record Fair Oct. 26

Hundreds of vinyl records and CDs will be for sale during the WESU 88.1 FM Fall Record Fair.

Hundreds of vinyl records and CDs will be for sale during the WESU 88.1 FM Fall Record Fair.

WESU 88.1 FM will host a Fall Record Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 in Beckham Hall.

Dozens of vendors from across the Northeast will be selling vinyl records, CDs, posters, T-shirts and more. WESU DJs will sell WESU gear and records to support the station. The station also is seeking donations to be sold at the event.

“Cleaning out your shelves but can’t make it to the event? Please consider donating your records for WESU to sell to aid in our fundraising efforts,” said WESU member Tess Altman ’17. “Come support the station and invite your friends! Why? You can’t scratch an MP3.”

Interview, Paper by Smolkin-Rothrock, Fusso Focuses on Russian Atheist

Wesleyan faculty Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock and Susanne Fusso are the co-authors of “The Confession of an Atheist Who Became a Scholar of Religion,” published in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2014. The paper is based on an interview Smolkin-Rothrock completed on Russian atheist Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko.

Smolkin-Rothrock is assistant professor of history; assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies; Faculty Fellow Center for the Humanities; and tutor in the College of Social Studies. Fusso is professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies.

Among the most prominent professors of “scientific atheism” in the Soviet Union, Gordienko also was the author of the Foundations of Scientific Atheism textbook and a consultant to the political elite on religious questions. Over the course of his life, he was connected with every institution that managed Soviet spiritual life in both its religious and atheist variants. Read the paper’s abstract online here.

Staff on the Move, September 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for September 2014:

Newly hired
Janani Iyer was hired as a research assistant/lab coordinator in the Psychology Department on Sept. 2.
Ilona Bass was hired as a research assistant/lab coordinator in the Psychology Department on Sept. 2.
Paul Wilson Cauley was hired as a researcher in the Astronomy Department on Sept. 8.
Franklin Huynh was hired as a senior budget analyst in the Office of Financial Planning on Sept. 15.
Michael Schramm was hired as assistant director of the Wesleyan Fund on Sept. 15.
Luigi Solla was hired an associate director of admission for the Office of Admission on Sept. 22.

Transitions
Thomas Diascro was hired as director of alumni and parent relations for University Relations on Sept. 8.

Departures
Rani Arbo, fellow in the College of the Environment.
Christopher Andrews, senior budget analyst in the Office of Financial Planning.
Linnea Benton, library assistant in Olin Library.
Edward Chiburis, facility and events manager for Memorial Chapel/ ’92 Theater.

Wesleyan, City Officials Sign Memorandum of Understanding

On Oct. 15, Wesleyan and City of Middletown officials met at City Hall in downtown Middletown to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on dealing with sexual assault.

The document details the responsibilities and procedures of the university, the city, and state law enforcement in handling assault cases. This document officially codifies long-standing campus and community cooperation around the issue of crime, sharing of training resources, and enhanced communication designed to support survivors of sexual assault.

On Oct. 15, Wesleyan and City of Middletown officials met at City Hall in downtown Middletown to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on dealing with sexual assault. The document details the responsibilities and procedures of the university, the city, and state law enforcement in handling assault cases. This document officially codifies long-standing campus and community cooperation around the issue of crime,  sharing of training resources, and enhanced communication designed to support survivors of sexual assault. Pictured from left, signing the document are Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney for Middlesex County Peter McShane; Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. Absent but also instrumental in the development of the MOU is Middletown General Counsel Brig Smith.

Pictured from left, signing the Memorandum of Understanding, are Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney for Middlesex County Peter McShane; Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. Absent but also instrumental in the development of the MOU is Middletown General Counsel Brig Smith.

Participants included: Front row, from left, Peter McShane; Mayor Dan Drew and President Michael Roth. Back row, from left, General Counsel and Secretary of the University David Winakor; Director of Public Safety Scott Rodhe; Therapist/Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator Alysha Warren; Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Officer Antonio Farias; Middletown Police Chief William McKenna and Middletown Police Deputy Chief Michael Timbro.

Participants included: Front row, from left, Peter McShane; Mayor Dan Drew and President Michael Roth. Back row, from left, General Counsel and Secretary of the University David Winakor; Director of Public Safety Scott Rohde; Therapist/Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator Alysha Warren; Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Officer Antonio Farias; Middletown Police Chief William McKenna and Middletown Police Deputy Chief Michael Timbro. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In addition, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., came to Wesleyan Oct. 6 to hear students’ concerns about sexual violence, survivor support and penalties for perpetrators. In his discussions with students he shared details of legislation he has proposed to provide better frameworks on campuses for handling sexual assault cases. Read more in this past News @ Wesleyan article.

Twagira’s Paper on Cosmopolitan Workers Published in Gender & History

coverLaura Ann Twagira, assistant professor of history, is the author of an article titled, “‘Robot Farmers’ and Cosmopolitan Workers: Technological Masculinity and Agricultural Development in the French Soudan (Mali), 1945–68,” published in the November issue of Gender & History, Volume 26, Issue 3, pages 459-477.

In 1956, Administrator Ancian, a French government official, suggested in a confidential report that one of the most ambitious agricultural schemes in French West Africa, the Office du Niger, had been misguided in its planning to produce only a ‘robot farmer’. The robot metaphor was drawn from the intense association between the project and technology. However, it was a critical analogy suggesting alienation. By using the word ‘robot’, Ancian implied that, rather than developing the project with the economic and social needs of the individual farmer in mind, the colonial Office du Niger was designed so that indistinguishable labourers would follow the dictates of a strictly regulated agricultural calendar. In effect, farmers were meant simply to become part of a larger agricultural machine, albeit a machine of French design. Read the full article, online here.

Crimea, Tatar Rights Explored at Panel Discussion, Multimedia Performance

Wesleyan will present "To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars" Oct. 24. The event includes a panel discussion, faculty dance concert/multimedia presentation and reception.

Wesleyan will present “To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars” Oct. 24. The event includes a panel discussion, faculty dance concert/multimedia presentation and reception.

 

On Oct. 24, the Dance Department and Center for the Arts present “To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars,” a panel discussion and the Fall Faculty Dance Concert by Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio.

While international media and political leaders are ignoring the situation in Crimea, this event draws public attention to the widespread violation of the Tatars’ human rights and the degree to which the Russian Occupation has forced them out of their ancestral homeland.

The evening will begin with a free panel discussion, “Indigenous Ukrainian Perspectives of Crimea Post Russian-Invasion,” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Fayerweather Beckham Hall. The discussion will revolve around the current situation in Crimea, the quest for indigenous status by its Tatar population, and the movement for Tatar rights under Mustafa Jemilev, which through non-violence and interfaith collaboration offers an inspiring model for other oppressed peoples.

The event will be live streamed; see here for information and the live stream link.

Panelists will include Arsen Zhumadilov, founder and chairman of the Crimean Institute for Strategic Studies; Ayla Bakkalli, United States representative of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Greta Uehling, lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Program in International and Comparative Studies, and author of Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars’ Deportation and Return.

Ulysse to Serve as Panelist at Columbia’s Caribbean Conference

Imagining and Imaging the Caribbean

“Imagining and Imaging the Caribbean.”

Gina Athena Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, was invited to participate in “Imagining and Imaging the Caribbean,” the inaugural conference of Columbia’s Greater Caribbean Studies Center, on Oct. 18.

Ulysse will discuss “Writing in the Caribbean Diaspora” with fellow panelists Cuban writer and artist Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (Brown University) and Kittian-Brittish novelist Caryl Phillips (Yale University).

Other topics include “The Greater Caribbean as a Geo-Historical and Cultural Region,” “Writing about the Caribbean from National Perspectives” and “Photographing the City in the Greater Caribbean.” The event concludes with a Caribbean concert.

Schwarcz Addresses Moral Dilemma, Ethics in China in Colors of Veracity

veraVera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of history, is the author of a new book titled Colors of Veracity: A Quest for Truth in China, and Beyond, published by the University of Hawai’i Press in November 2014.

In Colors of Veracity, Schwarcz condenses four decades of teaching and scholarship about China to raise fundamental questions about the nature of truth and history. In vivid prose, she addresses contemporary moral dilemmas with a highly personal sense of ethics and aesthetics.

Drawing on classical sources in Hebrew and Chinese (as well as several Greek and Japanese texts), Schwarcz brings deep and varied cultural references to bear on the question of truth and falsehood in human consciousness. The book redefines both the Jewish understanding of emet (a notion of truth that encompasses authenticity) and the Chinese commitment to zhen (a vision of the real that comprises the innermost sincerity of the seeker’s heart-mind). Works of art, from contemporary calligraphy and installations to fake Chinese characters and a Jewish menorah from Roman times, shed light light on the historian’s task of giving voice to the dread-filled past.

Following in the footsteps of literary scholar Geoffrey Hartman, Schwarcz expands on the “Philomela Project,” which calls on historians to find new ways of conveying truth, especially when political authorities are bent on enforcing amnesia of past traumatic events.

Schwarcz, who was born and raised in Cluj, Romania, was one of the first exchange scholars to study in China in 1979 and has returned to Beijing many times since then.

For more information on the book or to order, visit the University of Hawai’i Press website.

Schwarcz will be speaking about her book at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Wasch Center. The event is open to the public.

British History Class Takes Field Trip to Yale’s British Art Center

hist2691

On Oct. 7, students enrolled in the course HIST 269: Notes from a Small Island — Modern British History, 1700 – Present, visited the Yale Center for British Art.

The class, taught by Alice Kelly, visiting assistant professor of history, toured the center’s two current exhibitions, “Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901″ and “Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in 18 Century Atlantic Britain.”

“Seeing history through a different lens — art and sculpture — really aided their understanding of some of the class readings, and we were able to find a number of similarities, particularly in the Figures of Empire exhibition,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s course offers a survey of the political, social, economic, and cultural history of Britain since the beginning of the 18th century and traces the movement into modernity. Topics covered include the Acts of Union, the Jacobite Rising, the Napoleonic Wars, imperial expansion, the Slavery Abolition Act, the Industrial Revolution, the development of mass literacy, the Edwardian era, the First World War, the Second World War and the Blitz, the end of empire, the Sexual Revolution and the Swinging Sixties, and contemporary multicultural Britain. Read more about the HIST 269 course here.

WesSukkah Houses 5th Year of Sukkot Festivities at Wesleyan

The Wesleyan Sukkah (WesSukkah), is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month while providing a dwelling for Wesleyan's Jewish community to celebrate the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

The Wesleyan Sukkah (WesSukkah), is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month while providing a dwelling for Wesleyan’s Jewish community to celebrate the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

WesSukkah, pictured here on Oct. 7, is a temporary structure located on the lawn of Olin Library.

WesSukkah, pictured here on Oct. 7, is a temporary structure located on the lawn of Olin Library.

Math Ph.D. Candidate Smith Delivers First Graduate Speaker Series Talk

Brett Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics, spoke during the first Graduate Speaker Series event Oct. 7 in Exley Science Center. Smith's talk, titled "Mine, Yours and the Truth," focused on American mobster Joe Massino, boss of the Bonanno crime family in New York from 1991 until 2004. "Big Joey" famously said, “there are three sides to every story — mine, yours and the truth.”

Brett Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics, spoke during the first Graduate Speaker Series event Oct. 7 in Exley Science Center. More than 50 students, faculty and staff attended the event. Smith’s talk, titled “Mine, Yours and the Truth,” focused on American mobster Joe Massino, boss of the Bonanno crime family in New York from 1991 until 2004. “Big Joey” famously said, “there are three sides to every story — mine, yours and the truth.”

By using a graph theory called the Robertson–Seymour theorem, Smith explored the competing questions, "What is the best way to organize a mafia so that you won't be caught?" and "What is the best way to patrol a city to disrupt organized crime?" Smith explained how these questions are one and the same.

By using a graph theory called the Robertson–Seymour theorem, Smith explored the competing questions, “What is the best way to organize a mafia so that you won’t be caught?” and “What is the best way to patrol a city to disrupt organized crime?”
Smith explained how these questions are one and the same.

Three more graduate students will tentatively speak as part of the series this fall and next spring including Duminda Ranasinghe, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate; Katie Kaus, a molecular biology and biochemistry Ph.D. candidate and Peter Blasser, a graduate student in music. For more information, visit the Graduate Studies website.

Students Prepare for Fall Harvest at Long Lane Farm

Wesleyan students at Long Lane Organic Farm are preparing for the annual Pumpkin Fest, hosted by the College of the Environment on Oct. 25. The event celebrates the annual fall harvest at the farm. This month, students are harvesting pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, turnips, potatoes, squash, herbs and many more vegetables.

cam_lon_2014-1003153113

The event celebrates the annual fall harvest at the farm. This month, students are harvesting pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, turnips, potatoes, squash, herbs and many more vegetables.

cam_lon_2014-1003152617

Long Lane Farm is an organic student-run farm that supplies high quality organic food to local residents of the Middletown area as well as to food pantries and soup kitchens. Pictured are student farmers working inside the humid hoop house on Oct. 3.