Olivia Drake

Jackson Translates Second Play from Brazilian Playwright Newton Moreno

A play translated by Elizabeth Jackson, adjunct associate professor of Portuguese, was performed at Yale Cabaret Oct. 25–27. The play, titled “Agreste (Drylands),” is a Brazilian tale of love and loss, desire and death, ignorance and violence, written by Brazilian playwright Newton Moreno.

Based on true events, “Drylands” is a poetic narrative set in Brazil’s suffocating and desertified northeast. Three storytellers share with the audience their accounts and reenactments of a moving love story between two young farm workers that unravels in perplexing ways, as their intimacy becomes the subject of local gossip, and the memories of their relationship are ransacked by a conservative, violent, and deeply fragile community.

The New Haven Review published a review of “Drylands” on Oct. 28, noting that “with its ensemble presentation, the play is simply fascinating to watch, its story seeming to be spun from the air around us.”

The “Drylands” translation was completed during a playwriting conference at Wesleyan in February 2012 titled “Contemporary Conventions, Cultural Innovations, Playful Traditions.” The series of talks, performances, and readings culminated in Wesleyan’s first conference on playwriting pedagogy and creative processes. Moreno was an invited international guest.

This is the second play by Newton Moreno that Jackson translated. In February 2017, the Yale Cabaret staged her translation of “The Meal: Dramatic Essays on Cannibalism,” which tells three stories about people consuming—and being consumed.

American Studies Celebrates 50 Years with Series of Speakers

Fifty years ago, Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, Emeritus, founded American studies at Wesleyan University. As he recounted last year while speaking on campus, “We were doing what was not yet called cultural criticism: studying all the manifestations of American culture to understand the ideological fictions through which American nationality had historically been constituted. We were part of a revisionist wave that departed from the established form of American studies, which tended to celebrate American exceptionalism.”

American Studies at Wesleyan sponsored the first courses in women’s studies, cosponsored some of the first African American studies courses, and supported the development of film studies by sharing courses and faculty. Since then, the department has been at the forefront of interdisciplinarity with a focus on diverse topics of political urgency. In 2011–12, the Education Policy Committee approved the request that American Studies be elevated from a program to departmental status.

To honor the department’s anniversary, the Wesleyan community celebrated on Nov. 2 with an event titled “American Studies Takes on the World: Celebrating Wes AMST @ 50.”

“Celebrating Wes AMST” celebrated the department’s legacy with select luminaries discussing the state of the field, and AMST alumni presenting their cutting-edge work.

The event included: Welcome and opening remarks, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, chair of American Studies

Students “Hop” into Midterms with Design and Engineering Project Presentations

Students who are enrolled in the fall semester Introduction to Design and Engineering course presented their midterm projects on Oct. 17 and 18. At the beginning of the semester, the students were given a box of materials and tasked with creating a “hopper”—an object that would spring into the air but only after a delay of 8 seconds (and less than 60 seconds) from when the student released the object.

After designing the hopper, and (often) creating multiple prototypes, students used laser-cut wooden pieces, rubber tubes, ball bearings, capacitors, balloons, wire, and other equipment to fabricate their final ideas.

The Introduction to Design and Engineering course, which provides a hands-on introduction to design and engineering, is taught by Greg Voth, chair and professor of physics, and professor, integrative sciences; and Daniel Moller, assistant professor of the practice in integrative sciences. It is part of Wesleyan’s Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science (IDEAS) program, which prepares students to succeed at the intersection of design, the arts, and engineering. Through the program, students develop foundational knowledge in design and engineering by working in collaborative groups on project-based studies. The IDEAS program is hosted and administered by the College of Integrative Sciences.

Photos of the midterm presentations are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Cynthia Rockwell)

6 Alumni Inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame

Six Wesleyan alumni were inducted into the 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame class on Oct. 19 during Homecoming festivities. The ninth class features James Carrier ’42, Philip Rockwell ’65, Allison Palmer ’95, Jed Hoyer ’96, Flo Stueck ’96, and Herb Kenny.

Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF), both online and on campus, is filled with entertaining and enlightening accounts of Cardinals past. It features exciting stories of accomplishment, character, perseverance, courage, loyalty, teamwork, and generosity. The HOF was founded in 2006 through the collaborative work of the Athletics Advisory Council, the Athletic Department, and the Office of University Relations and is on display in the Warren Street lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center.

Photos of the recipients are below. View the entire AHOF photo gallery online here. (Photos by Richard Marinelli)

King Coauthors Paper and Is Elected to Chair Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles

Melissa King

Melissa King, a PhD student in chemistry, and Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry, are the coauthors of a study titled “Iodide-induced differential control of metal ion reduction rates: synthesis of terraced palladium–copper nanoparticles with dilute bimetallic surfaces,” published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, August 2018.

In this paper, King and Personick report the use of low concentrations of iodide ions as a means of differentially controlling the reduction rates of a noble metal (palladium) and a non-noble metal (copper). The iodide in this system increases the rate of reduction of palladium ions while concurrently slowing the rate of copper ion reduction, thus providing a degree of control that is not achievable using most other reported means.

In addition, last June, King presented a talk as part of the Gordon Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles, a graduate/postdoc meeting that takes place the day before the corresponding Gordon Research Conference. She also was elected to chair the next Gordon Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles in two years. King also received an award for her poster at the Gordon Research Conference and gave a 10-minute poster award talk to the Gordon Research Conference audience. With the exception of the poster award talks, all presentations at the Conference portion were invited talks given by faculty.

Alumni Gatherings, Athletic Contests Highlights of 2018 Homecoming

Alumni joined students, faculty, staff, and friends for Wesleyan’s Homecoming celebration Oct. 19–20. This year, Wesleyan athletics took on Little Three rival Amherst College. Football lost 33–3; women’s soccer won 3–2; men’s soccer lost 3–0; and women’s field hockey lost 3–0. In addition, women’s crew Varsity 8 placed 6th of 28 boats at Head of the Charles and men’s crew Varsity 8 placed 12th of 36 and bested all NESCAC boats at Head of the Charles.

Other Homecoming highlights included an Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony and dinner, an alumni volunteer leaders meeting, team tailgates, a reception honoring leadership donors and volunteers, campus tours, a guided gallery tour of the Center for the Arts Kahlil Robert Irving exhibition, and more.

Photos of 2018 Homecoming events are below and on this Wesleyan Flickr Album.

Fall Harvest, Music, Gatherings at 2018 Pumpkin Fest

The campus and local community celebrated the fall season during the College of the Environment’s annual Pumpkin Fest on Oct. 13.

Held at the student-run, Long Lane Organic Farm, participants enjoyed farm tours, farm produce and baked good sales, crafts, face painting, local vendors, free veggie burgers and apple cider, a pie eating contest, prizes from Wesleyan University Press, and musical performances.

Wesleyan performers included Brien Bradley ’19, Phie Towle ’20, Rebecca Roff ’20, Dreamboat (May Klug ’19), Slavei, Long Lane Gourdchestra, and Anna Marie Rosenlieb [’20] Collective Dance Improv.

In addition, the student groups Veg Out, Outing Club, Climate Action, Bee Club, and Wesleyan Sustainability had tables at the festival.

(Photos by Alexa Jablonski ’22)

Case, Hingorani Coauthor Study on DNA Repair

Molecular biology and biochemistry graduate student Brandon Case and Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, are coauthors on a study published in Nucleic Acids Research in October 2018.

The paper, titled “Coordinated protein and DNA conformational changes govern mismatch repair initiation by MutS,” reports new findings on how the Mutator S (MutS) protein repairs mistakes in the DNA sequence, which is essential for maintaining the accuracy of the genetic code.

The collaborative effort from researchers at Wesleyan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University employed single molecule and ensemble kinetic methods to study the mechanism of action of MutS. The outcome is a unified model of coordinated changes in MutS and DNA conformation that enable the protein to recognize errors in DNA and initiate their repair.

The research at Wesleyan was supported by NIH grant R15 GM114743 awarded to Manju Hingorani.

Sousa ’03 Produces, Directs Native America Documentary for PBS

Clockwise from top left: Alan Hunt prepares to become a Kwakwaka'wakw Hereditary Chief; Potlatch cedar carving; Onondaga tribal member Angela Ferguson; Comanche tribal members Philip Bread and Jhane Myers. Credit: Providence Pictures

Joseph Sousa ’03 is the producer and director of a documentary titled “Native America.” Pictured are stills from the show. Clockwise from top left: Alan Hunt prepares to become a Kwakwaka’wakw Hereditary Chief; a Potlatch cedar carving; Onondaga tribal member Angela Ferguson; Comanche tribal members Philip Bread and Jhane Myers. (Photo courtesy of Providence Pictures)

A four-part documentary directed by Joseph Sousa ’03 will be released on Oct. 23 on PBS.

Native America, produced by Providence Pictures, weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions. The series travels through 15,000 years to showcase massive cities, unique systems of science, art, and writing, and 100 million people connected by social networks and spiritual beliefs spanning two continents.

Joseph Sousa '03

Joseph Sousa ’03 is a producer, director, and nonfiction writer of television, commercial content, and independent documentaries.

Sousa and his fellow producers and film crew were provided access to Native American communities, going behind the scenes at special events, including a pilgrimage to ancestral ruins at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, a trek across lost territories in the American West, and an investiture ceremony for a chief in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by cedar totem poles and centuries of tradition. Tribal members and descendant communities, whose ancestors built this world, share their stories, revealing long-held oral traditions as the thread that runs through the past to these living cultures today.

Kiman Speaks on Klezmer Music during Graduate Speaker Series

On Oct 10, Douglas Kiman, a second year PhD student in ethnomusicology, presented a Graduate Speaker Series talk titled “Klezmorim and Klezmer Music: From Europe to the United States and Back Again.” Klezmer music is the instrumental folklore of Eastern European Yiddish-speaking communities played by Jewish musicians called klezmorim. For centuries, these musicians traveled with their music, playing for the nobles and for the masses, within and outside their communities, adapting and absorbing from their surrounding cultures.

On Oct 10, Douglas Kiman, a second year PhD student in ethnomusicology, presented a Graduate Speaker Series talk titled “Klezmorim and Klezmer Music: From Europe to the United States and Back Again.” Klezmer music is the instrumental folklore of Eastern European Yiddish-speaking communities played by Jewish musicians called klezmorim. For centuries, these musicians traveled with their music, playing for the nobles and for the masses, within and outside their communities, adapting and absorbing from their surrounding cultures.

Wes in the News

In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News

  1. The New York Times: “Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal”

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, comments on a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group with which he was involved from the early 1990s through 2014.

2. Avant Music News: “Tyshawn Sorey Residency at the Kitchen”

On Oct. 21–23, Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11, assistant professor of music; assistant professor, African American studies; will present a rare three-night New York City appearance in a residency at The Kitchen in Chelsea with a variety of musicians.