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Editorial StaffJune 29, 20229min
By Victoria Pitts-Taylor, professor and chair of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies In May this year I attended a reproductive freedom protest organized by Wesleyan University students. We were taking part in a nationwide campus walkout after the draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked. Using the inclusive, intersectional language of reproductive justice, speakers at the rally advised the crowd how to get abortion access through medication by mail, how to help others attain abortions across state lines, and how to fight for legal protections at the state and national level if Roe was overturned. They were…

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Olivia DrakeJune 13, 202218min
While most universities value either pedagogy or scholarship, Associate Professor of Biology Joseph Coolon appreciates how—at Wesleyan—both are celebrated concurrently. "Wes is a truly unique place," he said. "Wesleyan faculty aim to be true scholar-teachers with each benefiting the other synergistically." Coolon, who joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor of both biology and integrative sciences, has since co-authored 13 articles on ecological and evolutionary genomics in peer-reviewed publications such as G3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics; Developmental Biology; and Insect Molecular Biology. Ten of these papers were co-authored by both his graduate and undergraduate students. Together, they…

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Steve ScarpaJune 13, 20227min
It was sitting in the peace of synagogue with his wife where Stephen Angle began to contemplate his personal relationship to Confucianism. Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies and professor of philosophy, had spent his career studying the ancient philosophy, which emphasizes personal ethics and morality. He’d written multiple academic books on the subject. The roots of his interest went all the way back to high school with a fascinating class on non-Western cultures. Still, there had always been one small remove between the ideas and his own life. “I didn’t understand the Hebrew being chanted. Half of…

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Andrew ChatfieldJune 1, 20226min
Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras was supposed to be a lawyer. While growing up in the Bronx, Oliveras became fascinated with musicals thanks to her father, an immigrant from Puerto Rico with a passion for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Man of La Mancha.” She performed at her high school in New Rochelle, then majored in Theater at Yale University. As an undergraduate, she interned at the Manhattan Theatre Club and started acting professionally in "South Pacific.” After two years auditioning in New York, she pursued her M.F.A. at the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver before joining with a…

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Olivia DrakeMay 22, 202212min
After 36 years teaching chemistry at Wesleyan and becoming an internationally-recognized expert on photoelectron spectroscopy, Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry, is ready to retire. Knee, along with faculty colleagues Anne Greene, University Professor of English; Ann Campbell Burke, professor of biology, and Ronald Schatz, professor of history; received emeritus status during Wesleyan's 190th Commencement Ceremony on May 22. Joe Knee dedicated his career to developing time-resolved laser spectroscopy techniques that help determine the structure and dynamics of gas-phase molecules, molecular clusters, and ions. These methods provide insight into molecular behavior and influence the strength and structure of intermolecular hydrogen…

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Steve ScarpaMay 10, 202211min
A new residency will bring a trio of noteworthy writers to Wesleyan for the 2022-23 academic year as the University looks to augment its already robust writing programs. Mahogany L. Browne, poet, curator and author of “Black Girl Magic”; Merve Emre, Oxford professor and New Yorker critic; and Yuri Herrera, an acclaimed Mexican novelist and Tulane professor, will be the first to join the newly established Shapiro-Silverberg Distinguished Writers in Residence program. “The Shapiro-Silverberg program will bring to campus writers whose work is already having an impact on a variety of audiences around the world. The initiative builds on a…

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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 20225min
Jeremy Zwelling, associate professor of religion, emeritus, passed away on May 8 at the age of 81. Zwelling received bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his MA and PhD from Brandeis University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1967, where he taught for 43 years until his retirement in 2010. He was instrumental in the creation of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan, and he created and directed an Israel Studies program in Jerusalem. Zwelling was named the inaugural Silverberg-Shapiro Professor of Jewish Studies in 2003, and when he retired in 2010 this chair was renamed the…

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Editorial StaffMay 9, 20229min
By Maia Dawson '24 A philosophy student writes an essay, pen to paper. He then hands it through the bars of his cell to a passing Corrections Officer. That CO gives it to a liaison, who gives it to a staff person, who gives it to Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan. It’s Spring 2020 and there is no Zoom in Cheshire Correctional Institution. After pandemic hiatuses, Wesleyan's Center for Prison Education (CPE) is planning to return to in-person teaching this summer. The program currently operates in Cheshire and York correctional facilities, both in Connecticut. Gruen has taught…

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Steve ScarpaMay 2, 20225min
Wesleyan has successfully launched a pair of online mini-courses this spring as a way for the university to further explore opportunities in online learning. The new initiative, which started the spring semester, featured two popular undergraduate courses: Living a Good Life, taught by Stephen Angle, Jennifer D’Andrea, Steven Horst, and Tushar Irani, and Black Phoenix Rising, taught by Anthony Ryan Hatch. Living a Good Life was a seven-week exploration of how philosophy and psychology teach us how to live lives of meaning and fulfillment. Black Phoenix Rising was a multimodal project that explores Black people’s practices of resisting death and…

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Steve ScarpaApril 22, 20226min
Maaza Mengiste, professor of English, has found that sometimes the scariest thing a writer can do is start over. It’s a hard-earned lesson she had to experience herself, but a vital one that she passes on to her students. Mengiste believes that the benefits of a fresh start are immeasurable. It can be a period where ideas coalesce and, perhaps more importantly, experimentation begins. When asking her students to start over, “They would look at me with sheer terror,” she said. But eventually “they would come back with these spectacular pieces of writing. It was hard to convince them sometimes,…

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Steve ScarpaMarch 25, 20226min
Author Amy Bloom’s home office overlooks a lovely section of Long Island Sound, with rocky islands in the distance, boats drifting by, and sunlight playing off the harbor. When the time comes to put pen to paper, she has a magnificent view from her window. The great view doesn’t make the work any easier. “The job is, you’ve got to go to the office. You have to sit in the chair. You’ve got to make the effort. These things don’t sprout by themselves. It’s not magic and it’s not the muse. The muse shows up when she will but my…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 18, 20224min
Eleven years ago, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, resulting in radioactive material spewing into the air, ground, and ocean. About 16,000 residents were killed from the explosions, and another 165,000 were forced to evacuate. "I should not be here," Eiko Otake shares in her most recent film, A Body in Fukushima (2021). But she keeps returning—for a total of five visits to the nuclear disaster site. Otake, visiting dance artist-in-residence, began her solo work there in January 2014. Her only audience is William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, who…