All News

Smolkin in The Conversation: Why a Centuries-Old Religious Dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Matters Today

Victoria Smolkin

Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” In a new article, Associate Professor of History Victoria Smolkin explains the historical context and significance today of a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church. Smolkin is also associate professor, Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies, and a tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church matters today

A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine.

Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and transferred its jurisdiction from the church of Moscow to the church of Constantinople, located in Istanbul.

This competition between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow for dominance in the Orthodox Christian world is not new – it goes back more than 500 years. But the birth of the new Orthodox Church in Ukraine opens a new chapter in this history.

So what is Ukraine’s new church, and how will it change the global political and religious landscape?

Gilmore Speaks on Venus’s Terrain at American Museum of Natural History

Sporting their Earth and Environmental Sciences–labeled jackets, John Hossain MA ’18 and Avi Stein ’17 posed for a photo with Professor Marty Gilmore during her recent talk at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Martha “Marty” Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology and professor of earth and environmental sciences, presented a talk at the American Museum of Natural History on Feb. 4 titled “Venus: One Fate of a Habitable Planet.” Gilmore’s presentation was part of the museum’s Frontiers Lecture Series, which highlights the latest advances in our knowledge of the universe by presenting the work of scientists at the cutting edge of astrophysics.

Gilmore, a planetary geologist, uses surface mapping and orbital spectroscopy to study Venus’s terrain. During her talk, she spoke about the planet’s oldest rocks and what they can tell us about the history of water on one of Earth’s closest neighbors. Gilmore supports her investigations by studying minerals formed and/or weathered under conditions on Venus.

Gilmore also uses spectroscopy to evaluate the extent and health of plant species local to Connecticut.

Wesleyan alumni Avi Stein ’17 and John Hossain MA ’18 attended the standing-room-only talk.

Gilmore is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the deputy chair of NASA’s Venus Exploration Analysis Group. At Wesleyan, she’s also the director, graduate studies, and co-coordinator, planetary science.

Joe Reed Remembered for Teaching at Wesleyan 44 Years

Joe Reed

Joe Reed

(Information provided by the Office of Academic Affairs)

Joseph W. Reed, professor of English and American studies, emeritus, died on Feb. 11 at the age of 86.

Reed arrived at Wesleyan in 1960 after receiving his BA, MA, and PhD from Yale University, and having served on active duty in the Navy. During his time here, he served as the chair of the English Department and of the Sesquicentennial Committee, and was one of the founding architects of both American Studies and Film Studies at Wesleyan. He played an important role in cultivating numerous interdisciplinary initiatives on campus and was involved in a long-term collaboration with Jon Barlow, professor of music, focused on William Faulkner’s fiction, John Ford’s films, and Charles Ives’s music. He retired in 2004 after 44 years at Wesleyan.

Reed is remembered for his legendary teaching of up to 200-400 students a year, his wide-ranging scholarship, and his kind and generous colleagueship.

6 Students Honored for Creative Writing, Poetry, Essays

Caridad Cruz, Oriana Ullman, Doc Polk, Nic Guo, Natalie Ruby, and Sahara Sidi.

Caridad Cruz ’21, Oriana Ullman ’21, Doc Polk ’19, Nic Guo ’20, Natalie Ruby ’19, and Sahara Sidi ’22 presented readings at Russell House on Feb. 13. All six students are recipients of creative writing and English Department Prizes. (Photo by Douglas Martin, assistant director of creative writing)

Six Wesleyan students were recently honored by Creative Writing at Wesleyan and the English Department.

Caridad Cruz ’21 is the recipient of the Sophie and Anne Reed Prize. Established by Leon Reed; his sons, S. Chadwick ’41 and Dr. Victor Reed; and his grandson Ted Reed ’70, the prize is named in memory of Sophie Reed and Anne Reed, for the best poem or group of poems.

Arevalo Mateus PhD ’13 Named Lead Scholar for NY State Archives Documentation Plan

Jorge Arévalo Mateus

Jorge Arévalo Mateus earned a PhD in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan in 2013.

Jorge Arévalo Mateus PhD ’13 is a lead scholar on a developing plan for The New York State Archives. The plan will focus on the collection and preservation of, as well as accessibility to, records involving under-documented topics and communities.

Arévalo Mateus will guide the research process of the project, which will include surveys on collections and communities and regional meetings across the state. The project is one of the Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY), a statewide program that supports a network of library and archival repositories that contain New York’s historical records and is in conversation with other collecting institutions in the state.

President Roth Hosts Brunch in Conjunction with Art Miami

As part of Art Miami‘s 29th annual art week held Dec. 4-9 in Miami, Fla., several alumni, parents, and friends attended a brunch with Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78. The brunch included a general day pass to view three fairs at Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami, and AQUA Art Miami.

Former Wesleyan Trustee Alberto Ibarguen ’66, P’97, Hon.’11 introduced President Roth at the brunch. Ibarguen is president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami.

View photos of the event below and in this Wesleyan Flickr album. (Photos by Leo Photographer, Miami)

Wesleyan Announces 2019 Honorary Degree Recipients

At the University’s 187th Commencement on May 26, 2019, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the historic Vanguard Class of 1969 and the founding of the African American Studies program at Wesleyan, Wesleyan will present three honorary degrees.

Saidiya Hartman ’84, a groundbreaking scholar and cultural historian, will deliver this year’s Commencement address. Hazel Carby and Edwin Sanders II ’69 also will be honored.

Film by Leter ’21 to Premiere in Paris

The poster for “Pau” was designed by Sarina Hahn ’21 and Vincent Warne ’18.

The poster for “Pau” was designed by Sarina Hahn ’21 and Vincent Warne ’18.

“Pau,” a feature-length film by Alexandre Leter ’21 will be premiering at the Cinéma Saint-André Des Arts in Paris on March 13.

“It’s a very engaged art-house and cinema that’s very supportive of young filmmakers,” Leter said. “I sent them a DVD of the film last summer, and they agreed to show it.”

Leter, who is majoring in religion and minoring in film studies, started making “Pau” during his senior year of high school in Paris and finished the film during his freshman year at Wesleyan. The film follows “Pau,” a young girl who begins to experience hallucinatory visions as a result of mourning her father’s premature death. The idea for the film came to Leter after his junior year of high school, when his father passed away.

“When you’re grieving someone, you start imagining them around you in a way, as if they’re still there, if you walk by a place where you used to go with that person,” Leter said. “For me, I would start seeing my dad there, imagining him in my head. The idea of the film was having that kind of experience, these illusions or hallucinations, of someone who just lost someone who was close to them.”

Leter’s mother is from Chicago, and both his mother and his sister went to colleges in the U.S., so Leter knew early on he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

“In France, you need to know exactly what you want to study after high school,” Leter said. “Even though I loved film, I didn’t want to be set on doing one thing right out of high school…I felt like the liberal arts education here was a really good fit.”

Once he began searching for schools, Leter became interested in Wesleyan for its emphasis on the arts.

“Wesleyan really caught my eye for being really strong in the arts and also academically, and having a really good film program, and having a lot of really dynamic people,” he said.

Watch a trailer for “Pau” online here. The film will run at the Cinéma Saint-André Des Arts until March 25.

Read more about Leter and “Pau” in this Feb. 13 LeParisien article.

Davison Art Center Acquires 23 Prints from American Artist Jasper Johns in Honor of Former Curator

Richard "Dick" Field and Miya Tokumitsu

Former Davison Art Center curator Richard “Dick” Field P’09 visited Wesleyan on Feb. 7 to view a series of screen prints recently donated to the DAC by artist Jasper Johns. Pictured, Field and DAC curator Miya Tokumitsu discuss one of Jasper Johns’ silkscreens titled Corpse and Mirror, 1976. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Jasper Johns signed a copy of the book, Jasper Johns: Prints 1960-1970, which was written by Dick Field. The book is housed in the Davison Art Center’s library. 

More than 40 years have passed since Richard “Dick” Field P’09 laid eyes on a silkscreen titled Corpse and Mirror.

“I enjoy seeing this. It’s part of my past,” Field said during a stopover at the Davison Art Center on Feb. 7. “It’s like visiting an old friend.”

Corpse and Mirror, created by American artist Jasper Johns, is one of 23 prints donated to the Davison Art Center in December 2018 by the artist himself. Johns donated the images to Wesleyan in honor of Field, who served as the DAC’s curator from 1972 to 1979.

Johns, an 89-year-old artist, is known for his textured screenprints and paintings of flags, numbers, lightbulbs, and targets. He engaged with pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, and abstract expressionism movements.

“Personally, I am thrilled that Wesleyan has been designated by Jasper Johns to be a recipient of his work,” said Miya Tokumitsu, curator of the Davison Art Center. “Also, I am very happy that Dick’s legacy will be honored in this way. Although Dick has long since left Wesleyan, he continues to care deeply about the DAC.”

Field first encountered Johns’ work in 1964 when he purchased a piece titled Ale Cans.