Arts & Culture

Pipe Organ Class Hosts Midterm Performances Online

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Wesleyan canceled all spring semester events, and courses moved to an online format.

Wesleyan’s Piping Performance course, however, welcomed the Wesleyan community to “attend” their midterm performances on April 7 through the Zoom platform.

“Our organ class is thriving in spite of our transition to online classes,” said course instructor Alcee Chriss, artist-in-residence and university organist. “It is a particular challenge to teach organ when none of your students have access to one. Many of the students have opted to give their performances on piano for this semester.”

Six of the 13 students wrote original compositions, five of which were pre-recorded on the Wesleyan organ. The pieces were juxtaposed with video, to fulfill the requirement that their compositions serve as a film score.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 and several faculty and staff members also tuned in to the concert.

organ class

Alcee Chriss, artist-in-residence and university organist, encouraged each student to talk about their song and process prior to the performance.

organ class

Kevin Goldberg ’23 presented his original composition, The Cameraman’s Revenge, which was pre-recorded on the Wesleyan organ.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan in the News

  1. Inside Higher Ed: “Contagious Civic Engagement”

In this essay, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 calls for a “virtuous contagion” to stimulate voting and other forms of civic engagement among young people, and writes about how this can still be possible at a time of social distancing. “The best way to attack cynicism, apathy or voter suppression is through authentic civic engagement between elections,” he writes. “One of the great things about this kind of engagement is that it is contagious. As we replicate efforts to bring people into the political process, we create habits of engagement and participation. Concern for the public sphere—like a virus—can spread. Usually this happens through face-to-face interaction, but now we must turn to virtual tools—notorious in recent years for being deployed to misinform or stir hatred—to strengthen networks for democracy.”

2. WSHU Public Radio’s “Off the Path from New York to Boston”: “Be(a)man”

Visiting Assistant Professor of African American Studies Jesse Nasta ’07 is interviewed for this NPR podcast, which examines the histories behind sites from New York to Boston. He discusses the Beman family, who founded the Beman Triangle neighborhood of freed African American slaves, as well as Middletown’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. “There’s so much amnesia around New England slavery,” said Nasta. “But the other part of it is how [the Bemans] emerged from enslavement by the 1800s, built free communities, built free churches, forged the Underground Railroad. And if you think about it, the church that they founded is still going strong two centuries later.”

3. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education: “Celebrating Women in the Academy”

Associate Professor of Chemistry Erika Taylor, who serves as faculty director of the McNair Program, is honored as one of the Top 35 Women in Higher Education. The profile notes: “Her research group has included over 75 students to date, spanning high schoolers to Ph.D. students, with women and other underrepresented students comprising more than three-quarters of her lab members. In addition to her research, she has been a passionate advocate for diversity, lending time and energy to provide opportunities in science for female, minority and low-income students. Taylor was awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching for her passion and dedication to supporting the academic and personal development of all of her students. Her track record of mentoring diverse students culminated in being named Wesleyan University’s McNair Program faculty director in 2018. Beyond Wesleyan, she founded and continues to run a Girls in Science camp for elementary through middle school aged girls, which highlights the diversity of women that exists in science and raises funds to enable nearly half of the students to participate tuition free.”

4. Associated Press: “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime? Echoes of ’30s in Viral Crisis?”

Richard Grossman, professor and chair of economics, spoke to the AP for an article comparing the current economic crisis, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Great Depression of the 1930s.“There are more levers now for the government,” he said. “There’s a lot now that the government can do that it wouldn’t even have thought of doing in the 1930s.” One example is a rarely used 1950s-era level that Trump invoked last week, the Defense Production Act, which empowers the government to marshal private industry to accelerate production of key supplies in the name of national security.

5. The New Yorker: “Breaking Transmission: The Fight Against the Coronavirus Offers a Strategy for Cutting Carbon”

Citizen Outlaw, a book by Charles Barber, writer-in-residence in Letters, was cited in this article on interrupting cycles to solve serious problems as diverse as gang violence, the coronavirus, and climate change. “Jumping in at exactly the right time makes all the difference,” explains Barber, who has written extensively on mental-health and criminal-justice issues. He cites studies showing that, otherwise, a single death can lead to a cascade of violence. In an Illinois study, for instance, “a single incident . . . was linked through the victim’s social networks to 469 separate violent incidents.”

6. The Hartford Courant: “Learning from Home and Learning from School Have a Lot in Common”

In this op-ed, Associate Professor of Psychology Steve Stemler offers advice to parents who are now responsible for educating their children at home due to COVID-19-related school shutdowns. Drawing on his research on the purpose of school, he writes: “Many school districts are providing families with some form of online curriculum that includes instruction on all the academic subjects covered in schools. But, as educators know, schools strive to develop not just strong readers and mathematicians but also humans who are emotionally resilient and socially capable, who will contribute to the world as good citizens. Parents may have more to teach their children than they think.”

7. The New York Review of Books: “Pandemic Journal: Michael S. Roth, Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 wrote a first-person account of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the University. He said, “Wesleyan is a residential school, one with a strong sense of engaged and community-based learning. Now, faculty are giving seminars and singing lessons at a distance, but we all know that the fabric of liberal education here comes from mutual entanglement.”

Alumni in the News

1. NPR: “David Biello: A Journey Into Uncharted Territory

In this experimental episode of TED Radio Hour, TED Science Curator David Biello ’95 takes listeners to uncharted places, such as outer space, the deep ocean, and our own brains.

2. Rolling Stone: “‘Blow the Man Down’: A Maine Noir with Money, Murder and Matriarchy

The debut feature film from Bridget Savage Cole ’05 and Danielle Krudy ’07, now streaming on Amazon, is reviewed. The New England noir’s review is favorable: “Blow the Man Down winds its way around the notion that behind every small town’s facade is a whole mess of secrets.”

3. Jazz Journal: “Chris Dingman: Embrace

Chris Dingman ’02 was interviewed about his latest album, Embrace. Embrace received a good review in the article. The album was referred to as “a beautifully warm ensemble sound, and the publicity cites influences from West African traditions and South Indian music, which Dingman has studied.”

4. Cord Cutters News: “Apple’s First Original Movie ‘The Banker’ Is Now Available to Stream

AppleTV+ released its first major movie, The Banker, starring Samuel L. Jackson, produced by Joel Viertel ’97. The article says, “The strong acting seems to be enough to carry the film – it got a 100% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.”

Wesleyan University Press Book by Chabitnoy Shortlisted for Griffin Poetry Prize

Chabitnoy-Fish-Abigail Chabitnoy’s debut poetry collection How to Dress a Fish, published by Wesleyan University Press in December 2018, has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Griffin Poetry Prize.

The prize is given by The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. In addition to the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Griffin Trust initiates and supports projects and ventures consistent with the mandate of the prize to further promote appreciation of Canadian and international poetry.

The judges read 572 books of poetry from 14 countries prior to narrowing their selection down to seven shortlisted finalists. The two winners will each be awarded $65,000, and finalists will be awarded $10,000.

Winning books will be announced on Tuesday, May 19.

The judges described Chabitnoy’s book in their citation:

Abigail Chabitnoy

Abigail Chabitnoy

“Bringing languagelessness into language, Abigail Chabitnoy’s How to Dress a Fish is an act of remythologizing and personal re-collection, a text of redress to the violence of US colonialism. Like the contronym cleave, like swallowed fish that appear whole, her poems assemble a narrative of displacement and emergence, of that which is half-revived and half-buried, to address instability and unify across divides. With gestures of archival investigation and assemblage, the poems move with undercurrent, sections, elision, and invention into voicings of self, land, story, and mythic place. ‘One face is not enough/ to adapt/ to survive/ to be both predator and prey/ and a shark is after all/ not so different.’ How to Dress a Fish speaks of division’s expression and history’s fracturing violence. This is a mending inquiry.”

Chabitnoy earned her MFA in poetry at Colorado State University and was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow. Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska. She currently resides in Colorado. How to Dress a Fish is her debut poetry collection.

“You Just Have to Read This…” Books by Wesleyan Authors: Pugh ’88, Tupper ’95, and Pompano CAS’95

In the eighth of this continuing series, Sara McCrea ’21, a College of Letters major from Boulder, Colo., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Stardust MediaChristina Pugh ’88, Stardust Media (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020)

In this time of social distancing, I find myself surrounded by media more than ever. My Wesleyan friends, thousands of miles away, flicker on all my screens; I watch from my bedroom as my seminar courses adjust to Zoom. As we all adapt to the distance necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves confronted by the gifts and limitations of our technologies—a theme of Christina Pugh’s Stardust Media, a stunning new collection of poems that traverse the landscapes of both new and ancient technologies.

Best of Wes: Alumni Act In, Produce Popular TV Shows

A number of Wesleyan alumni act in, write, direct, and produce popular TV programs. We’ve compiled a list of those alumni and their shows below, as part of our “Best of Wes” series. (Do you have a favorite that’s not listed? Email your idea to newsletter@wesleyan.edu, and we’ll add it in! You can also view previous “Best of Wes” pieces.)

bojack at wesleyan

Kate Purdy ’01 is a writer for the show BoJack Horseman on Netflix. Many BoJack Horseman scenes take place at Wesleyan University. From left, BoJack’s half-sister, Hollyhock, takes a selfie in front of Fayerweather; BoJack meets with Wes alumnus and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon ’15; and students walk on campus. In the show, BoJack is a theater professor at Wesleyan. (Images courtesy of Netflix)

himym

Several of the characters in How I Met Your Mother attended Wesleyan University. The show was created by Carter Bays ’97 and Craig Thomas ’97. Wesleyan is shown in numerous flashbacks, most of them occurring in Room 110 of Hewitt Residence Hall. The show is now available for steaming on Hulu.

The alumni and their roles on various TV shows are listed below:

Phillip Abraham ’82, P’20 has directed, produced, or directed the photography of episodes of Most Dangerous Game, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Glow, Orange Is the New Black, Daredevil, Ozark, Bates Motel, The Defenders, The Path, Mad Men, Weeds, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Castle Rock.

Jay Abramowitz ’76 wrote and produced Valerie’s Family, Full House, Mr. Belvedere and other television comedies. He was head writer on the animated PBS series Liberty’s Kids, an account of the American Revolution that blended fact, fiction and comedy and featured Dustin Hoffman, Annette Bening and Walter Cronkite. Some of Abramowitz’s short stories are posted on HollywoodDementia.com. His first novel Formerly Cool was published last year.

Sasha Alpert ’82, P’20 produced episodes of Project Runway, Born this Way, Under the Gunn, Bad Girls Club, After the Runway, and The Real World. She served as a casting director for Born This Way, Murder, The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best, The Real World, The Simple Life, and Lost.

Miguel Arteta ’89 directed episodes of Room 104, Forever, Succession, Famous in Love, Getting On, Grace and Frankie, Nurse Jackie, The New Normal, Ugly Betty, The Office, Six Feet Under, Cracking Up, and Freaks and Geeks. He’s also produced episodes of Duck Butter, Getting On, and Enlightened.

Michele Barnwell ’89 produced the documentary series Flint Town, My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I, America’s Next Top Model, Tiny & Toya, and others.

Michael Bay ’86 produced episodes of The Purge, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Last Ship, Horror at the Cecil Hotel, Black Sails, and Billion Dollar Wreck.

Carter Bays ’97 is the co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer of How I Met Your Mother. He also wrote for the Late Show With David Letterman, American Dad!, Quintuplets, Oliver Beene, and others.

Jordan Belfi ’00 has acting roles in Entourage, All American, 9-1-1, The Rookie, Chicago Fire, Code Black, Chicago Justice, Major Crimes, Mr. Hollywood, Scandal, NCIS: Los Angeles, Burn Notice, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O, Ghost Whisperer, and CSI: Miami.

Bill Boulware ’71 has served as the consulting producer of the BET comedy Reed Between the Lines. He has also been an executive producer for the UPN comedy One on One and The Parkers. He has served as a producer/writer for many sit-coms including The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, In the House, Here and Now, Claude’s Crib, and New Attitude. He co-created the NBC hit, 227 and began his network experience as a staff writer on Benson. In addition, he has written freelance scripts for The Cosby Show, The Dabney Coleman Show, and The Mayor.

Samantha Corbin-Miller ’93 was the executive producer or writer for episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Conviction, Crossing Jordan, Cold Case, ER, The Practice, and H-Town.

Jennifer Crittenden ’92 has produced and/or written episodes of Veep, Divorce, The New Adventures of Old ChristineArrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Drew Carey Show, and Seinfeld.

Ed Decter ’79 has spent the last 35 years writing and creating television shows such as Shadowhunters, Chicago Sons, Odd Man Out, The Closer, and has executive produced 14 series. He’s currently writing a dark crime series for FX that he created. “Wesleyan alumnae Kate Purdy, brilliant award winning writer of Bojack Horseman and Liz Garcia writer of Memphis Beat both started as my assistants, continuing the Wesleyan connection,” he added.

Emmy Award-winning actress Dana Delany ’78 stars in the television shows China Beach, Desperate Housewives, and Body of Proof.

Jan Eliasberg ’74, P’19 directed episodes of Gone, Bull, Nashville, NCIS: Los Angeles, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, Dawson’s Creek, Sisters, and Conviction.

Jennifer Flackett ’86 is the co-creator and Abe Forman-Greenwald ’98 is a producer on the Netflix animated series Big Mouth.

Liz W. Garcia ’99 produced and wrote episodes for The Sinner, Memphis Beat, Cold Case, Wonderfalls, and Dawson’s Creek.

Willie Garson (William Paszamant) ’85 has acted in more than 300 episodes of television series including Hawaii Five-O, SupergirlMagnum P.I., White Collar, Two and a Half Men, CSI: Miami, Stargate SG-1, Sex and the City, The X-Files, Nash Bridges, Friends, and Star Trek: Voyager

David Goodman ’95 served as the executive producer, consulting producer, and writer of Amazing Stories, Emergence, Once Upon a Time, Fringe, and The Event.

Eleo Hensleigh ’80 is the former senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Travel Channel, the chief marketing officer at ION Media Networks, and the chief marketing officer of brand strategy and marketing with Disney ABC Television Group.

Beanie Feldstein ’15 acted in American Crime Story, Grey’s Anatomy, What We Do in the Shadows, and The Simpsons.

Stephen Friedman ’91 is the former president of MTV.

Evan Katz ’83 was the executive producer and writer for 24: Legacy, Body of Proof, Awake, The Event, 24, Special Unit 2, and JAG.

David Kendall ’79, P’16 served as the executive producer of Growing Pains, Boy Meets World, The Wonderful World of Disney, Family Affair, and Melissa & Joey. He directed and wrote episodes of Coop and Cami Ask the World, Henry Danger, Game Shakers, Hannah Montana, Boy Meets World, and Clerks.

David Kohan ’86, P’17 is co-creator and executive producer of Will and Grace and Good Morning, Miami, among others. He also was a writer for The Wonder Years.

Alex Kurtzman ’95 wrote and produced episodes of Sleepy Hollow, Scorpion, Hawaii Five-O, Locke & Key, Xena: Warrior Princess, Alias, Fringe, Transformers Prime, Limitless, Instinct, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Short Treks, and Star Trek: Picard

Jeffrey Lane ’76 was the executive producer and writer for Mad About You, Bette, and the 42nd Annual Tony Awards TV special.

Jim Margolis ’93 was the producer or writer of the TV series Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Veep, Newsreaders, Almost Royal, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Lawrence Mark ’71 directed Mind Set Go, Tricked, Emergency, The Liquidator, Property Brothers, and In Real Life.

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon ’15 has made acting appearances in Modern Family, BoJack Horseman, Saturday Night Live, Ducktales, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sesame Street, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and House.

Matthew Penn ’80, P’15 was the producer or director of Law & Order, Big Apple, Orange Is the New Black, House, Blue Bloods, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and New Amsterdam.

Zak Penn ’90, P’23 is the co-creator of the series Alphas.

Kate Purdy ’01 wrote episodes of BoJack Horseman and Cougar Town. She’s also the creator and writer of the current animated series Undone.

Matt Senreich ’96 is the executive producer of Robot Chicken, SuperMansion, Hot Streets, The Grand Slams, The Simpsons, and Lego Scooby-Doo.

Dan Shotz ’99 produced episodes of See, Common Law, Black Sails, Harper’s Island, Countdown, and Jericho.

Jenno Topping ’89 has served as the executive producer of Truth Be Told, P-Valley, and See.

Craig Thomas ’97 is the co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer of How I Met Your Mother and creator of The Goodwin Games. He also wrote for American Dad!, Quintuplets, Method & Red, Da Ali G Show, and Oliver Beene.

Jon Turteltaub ’85 is the producer of the television dramas Jericho, Harper’s Island, Common Law, and The Thousand Year Journey.

Daisy von Scherler Mayer ’88 directed episodes of Bosch, The Walking Dead, A Million Little Things, Whiskey Cavalier, For the People, Chicago Med, Ray Donovan, House of Lies, Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, and Nurse Jackie.

Matthew Weiner ’87, P’18, ’23 is an Emmy Award-winning creator, writer, and executive producer of Mad Men and The Romanoffs.

D.B. Weiss ’93 was the executive producer and writer of Game of Thrones. He’s also had acting roles in Game of Thrones, Westworld, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Paul Weitz ’88 was the executive producer for episodes of Mozart in the Jungle, Cracking Up, Lone Star, Off Centre, and Fantasy Island.

Joss Whedon ’87, Hon’13 was the creator, producer, director, and writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dollhouse, Angel, and more. His new sci-fi show, The Nevers, will premiere in 2021.

Mike White ’92 produced and wrote episodes for the School of Rock TV series, Enlightened, and Cracking Up.

Whitford

The West Wing of Wesleyan’s Usdan University Center is named in honor of actor Bradley Whitford ’81. Whitford played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the NBC television drama The West Wing. Whitford was nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards from 2001 to 2003 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role on The West Wing, winning the award in 2001. He received a second Emmy Award in 2015 for his role on Transparent.

Bradley Whitford ’81 is an Emmy Award-winning actor known for his roles in The West Wing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Perfect Harmony, The Handmaid’s Tale, Infinity Train, Tangled: The Series, and Transparent.

Bill Wolkoff ’95 has written episodes of Once Upon a Time, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, TRON: Uprising, and Star Wars Rebels.

Frank Wood ’83 is a Tony Award-winning actor and has appeared in episodes of Prodigal Son, The Blacklist, Mozart in the Jungle, The Knick, and Girls.

Bill Wrubel ’85 was a writer and producer for Modern Family, Ugly Betty, and Will & Grace.

John Yang ’80 is a Peabody Award-winning news correspondent on NBC.

Strain, MacLowry ’86 Host Online Forum with Creators of Miles Davis Documentary

Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith, together P’22 and a multi-award-winning team, discussed their film Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, with the Wesleyan community via Zoom.

Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith, together P’22 and founders of Firelight Media, joined the Wesleyan Documentary Project co-directors Tracy Strain and Randall MacLowry ’86 for an online forum with the Wesleyan community to discuss Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, for which Nelson was director/producer and Smith was consulting producer.

Co-director of the Wesleyan Documentary Project and Professor of the Practice in Film Studies Tracy Strain co-hosted the forum via Zoom.

Viertel ’97 Produces The Banker, Featuring Samuel L. Jackson

The BankerA new film produced and edited by Joel Viertel ’97 centers on revolutionary entrepreneurs Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson), who devise a risky plan to purchase buildings in “white only” neighborhoods during the 1960s, to help black families pursue the American dream.

Inspired by true events, The Banker premiered at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., on March 2, and is now available for viewing on on Apple TV Plus.

The New York Times featured The Banker in a March 20 article.

Viertel, a film studies major at Wesleyan, also produced Birth of the Dragon (2016), Zipper (2015), Ready or Not (2012), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and many other films.

Grant, Naegele to Lead Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics as New Deans

Beginning May 4, 2020, Roger Mathew Grant will succeed Nicole Stanton as Dean of the Arts and Humanities division, and beginning July 1, 2020, Janice Naegele will succeed Joe Knee as Dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics division.

The announcement was made by Rob Rosenthal, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Roger Mathew Grant

Roger Mathew Grant

Roger Mathew Grant, associate professor of music, received his undergraduate degree from Ithaca College and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. In his recent book, Peculiar Attunements: How Affect Theory Turned Musical (Fordham University Press, 2020), he considers contemporary affect theory in relation to European music theory of the 18th century. He is also the author of Beating Time & Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era (Oxford University Press, 2014), which combines music theory, music analysis, and philosophy to trace the history of meter from the 16th century to the 19th century, and for which he received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory.

Eliasberg ’74, P’19 on Her Debut Novel, Hannah’s War

The book cover of Jan Eliasberg's new book, Hannah's War

Debut fiction by Jan Eliasberg ’74, P’19.

Award-winning writer/director Jan Eliasberg ’74, P’19 made her debut as a novelist with Hannah’s War, a story inspired by the real-life physicist Dr. Lise Meitner, whom an article in the Aug. 6, 1945, issue of the New York Times referred to as “a female, non-Aryan physicist,” noted for helping the Americans develop the atomic bomb.

Hannah’s War was published by Little Brown on March 3.

“Jan Eliasberg knows how to open big with strong suspense and wry humor and take us for a hurtling ride through one of America’s most complex moments,” said Amy Bloom ’75, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing. “The wonderful characters of Hannah’s War bring together a moving love story, a high-stakes mystery, and a fascinating look into the moral compass of an exceptional woman.”

Eliasberg’s talk at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore, originally scheduled for March 26, has been postponed.

Wesleyan University Magazine had profiled Eliasberg, focusing on her work in television and film; here she discusses her transition to being a novelist.

Q: As a screenwriter and director, what were the challenges you faced in writing a novel?

Jan Eliasberg: There were far more advantages than challenges. I would say that the biggest challenge was the idea of sitting down for almost nine months with no collaborative contact. As a director, you do not have a minute to yourself, from the moment you start the job to the moment you finish: You’re on location with eight, 10 people; you are on a set with all 60 others asking you questions. But this was nine months of going for days without really talking to anyone. I mean, how lovely in retrospect, but slightly terrifying to contemplate.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan in the News
1. The Open Mind: “Democratizing the Jury”

Associate Professor of Government Sonali Chakravarti is interviewed in connection with her new book, Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life, in which she offers a “full-throated defense of juries as a democratic institution.” “I am very interested in how ordinary people engage with political institutions, and juries are the place where ordinary people have the most power,” she says. Chakravarti calls for more robust civic education, continuing into adulthood, in order to have a “more effective, modern jury system.”

2. Hartford Courant: “Sen. Murphy, Aiming to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility for Incarcerated Students, Hears from Inmates at York Correctional Institution”

Senator Chris Murphy, who is the co-sponsor of a bill to expand the federal Pell grant program for college students to include inmates, met with 11 inmates who have participated in educational programs at York Correctional Institution through the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education and other college-in-prison programs.“What’s important about the REAL Act is that college affordability should be accessible to all students regardless of where they are,” said CPE program manager Allie Cislo. “It’s one thing rhetorically to commit to reentry,” she said, but resources like educational programs “can make or break it for people.”

3. American Theatre: “Digging for New Roots”

This article on “climate change theatre” features Ocean Filibuster, a play by Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl through her theater company, PearlDamour. Commenting on the play’s premise, in which a new Senate bill proposes sentencing the world’s oceans to death and the ocean stands to speak in its own defense, Pearl said, “We thought, well, what if the ocean finally got fed up with taking all of our crap, and started talking and didn’t stop until we actually shut up and listened?” American Theatre, a leading publication in the theater industry, writes: “Ocean Filibuster recalibrates the human experience by reminding us of the comparatively small scale and depth of our own existence.”

“You Just Have to Read This…” Books by Wesleyan Authors: Alznauer ’92, Almond ’99, and Florsheim ’83, P’14

In the seventh of this continuing series, Sara McCrea ’21, a College of Letters major from Boulder, Colo., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Flying PaintingsAmy Alznauer ’92, Flying Paintings: The Zhou Brothers: a Story of Revolution and Art (Candlewick Press, 2020)

When Shaoli and Shaoning Zhou are growing up and first learning to paint, their grandmother Po Po tells them, “To become an artist, you must possess the highest spirit.” But when officials from Mao’s republic come to the Zhou family bookstore and burn all of the art and writing they can find, this high spirit of the Zhous’ is strictly regulated, and the brothers can no longer paint freely. It is in this authoritarian political reality that the brothers learn that art can both be beautiful and have terrible consequences, as can the practices of resistance and perseverance. Through a fictionalized depiction of the trials and triumphs that the real-life Zhou brothers faced on their path to becoming art studio owners in Bridgeport, Chicago, author Amy Alznauer crafts an inspiring story for all ages about the importance of collaboration and fighting for artistic freedom. With beautiful illustrations from ShanZuo Zhou and DaHuang Zhou themselves, The Zhou Brothers features and celebrates art that, in its ability to fly off the page, surely exemplifies the highest spirit.

Best of Wes: Campus Exhibits

Wesleyan boasts several exhibits on display this month that are open to the public and are free of charge. View a collection of architect Henry Bacon’s campus plans and building designs, student artwork, professional photographs, a cardboard-art installation, an experimental musical commemoration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and more!

Be sure to check out the following exhibits as they are the best of Wes! (Photos by Olivia Drake)

RING FAMILY LOBBY DISPLAY CASE:

usdan cases

The Ring Family Lobby display case, located on the first floor of Usdan University Center, features artwork by students in the Printmaking I (ARST 237) and Beginning Japanese Printmaking Woodblock Technique (ARST 261) classes. The classes were taught during the fall 2019 semester by Alexander Osborn, visiting assistant professor of art, and Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence.

artwork

Nicole Rizutto ’20 created this artwork in the Japanese Printmaking class.

OLIN LIBRARY:

Olin Library is celebrating Black History Month with several book displays, and the Wesleyan Music Department community is commemorating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) with an inspired, diverse mix of traditional and experimental tributes. Stop by to browse books about Ludwig van Beethoven, view his musical scores, and experience Leif Inge’s sound installation 9 Beet Stretch (2002), which stretches Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony into a 24-hour recording.

Materials sourced from Wesleyan's Henry Bacon Collection are displayed in Olin Library's new display cases located in the basement. Architect Henry Bacon, best known for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., also helped shape the Wesleyan campus. He designed Wesleyan's Eclectic Society building (1907); the Skull and Serpent Society building (1914); Clark Hall (1916); the Van Vleck Observatory (1916); and provided the initial designs for Hall Laboratory (1927, now raised) and Olin Library (1928). The exhibit showcases Bacon's work on the Lincoln Memorial, correspondence letters, and work on Wesleyan's campus.

Materials sourced from Wesleyan’s Henry Bacon Collection are displayed in Olin Library’s new display cases, located in the basement. Architect Henry Bacon, best known for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., also helped shape the Wesleyan campus. He designed Wesleyan’s Eclectic Society building (1907); the Skull and Serpent Society building (1914); Clark Hall (1916); and the Van Vleck Observatory (1916), pictured; and provided the initial designs for Hall Laboratory (1927, no longer standing); and Olin Library (1928).