Faculty

Enrollment in Wesleyan MOOCs Surpasses 1 Million

Wesleyan, which was the first small liberal arts college focused on the undergraduate experience to offer MOOCs through Coursera, now has more than 1 million students enrolled in its courses.

Wesleyan, which was the first small liberal arts college focused on the undergraduate experience to offer MOOCs through Coursera, now has more than 1 million students enrolled in its courses.

Total enrollment in Wesleyan’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) recently surpassed 1 million students, as Wesleyan professors prepare to offer a new run of two film courses through Coursera in the coming months.

According to Jennifer Curran, director of continuing studies and Graduate Liberal Studies, enrollment is poised to continue growing in the lead-up to The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color, taught by Scott Higgins, associate professor and chair of film studies, beginning Feb. 2, and Marriage and the Movies: A History, taught by Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Cinema Archives, beginning May 18. A third course, Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics, taught by Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, is now being offered on-demand, meaning students can start and progress through the course on their own schedule. Additional courses are being converted to the on-demand format and will be available in the coming months.

Huwel, Morgan Investigate Dynamics of Laser-Induced Sparks in Helium

japiau_117_4Lutz Huwel, professor of physics, and Thomas Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, are the co-authors of an article titled “Investigating the dynamics of laser induced sparks in atmospheric helium using Rayleigh and Thomson scattering,” published in the Journal of Applied Physics, Volume 117 in January 2015.

The paper describes the use of two laser systems to prepare and study a helium plasma, and draws on an extensive international collaboration. The electron density and temperature of the plasma are measure as a function of time and space with high precision. The work has important impact in the area of laser induced breakdown spectroscopy and to the spectral line shape scientific community.

Shapiro Translates Fables in a Modern Key

Book translated by Norman Shapiro.

Book translated by Norman Shapiro.

Norman Shapiro, professor of French, is the translator of Fables in a Modern Key (Fables dan l’air du Temps), published by Black Widow Press in 2015.

Fables was written by by Pierre Coran (whose real name is Eugene Delaisse), a poet and novelist of the Belgian French-language. One of Begium’s most renowned poets with some 45 poetry books published to date, he also is the author of 25 published novels, 24 books of fables, hundreds of comic book stories, and several albums which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His children’s stories and fables are published around the world, but this the first selection of his fables to be translated into English in a full length book format.

Jenkins Reviews Book on Famed Artist Lempad in Jakarta Post

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins ’64, professor of theater, published a review of Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line in the Jan. 19 edition of the Jakarta Post. Jenkins had high praise for the book, which contains pictures of the works of Balinese architect and artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.

Jenkins wrote, “the aptly titled volume illuminates not only the exquisite lines of Lempad’s artwork, but also the intangible elements of Balinese identity that those lines represent.”

In addition to describing some of the noted works, Jenkins also commended the depth and insightfulness of the essays that accompanied each work. The essays were written by a team of scholars lead by the acclaimed Indonesian cultural researcher and author Bruce Carpenter.

Read the full review here.

 

In New Book, Caldwell Investigates Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity

CaldwellcropLauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, is the author of a new book titled Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity, published by Cambridge University Press in December 2014.

Elite women in the Roman world were often educated, socially prominent, and even relatively independent. Yet the social regime that ushered these same women into marriage and childbearing at an early age was remarkably restrictive. In the first book-length study of girlhood in the early Roman Empire, Caldwell investigates the reasons for this paradox. Through an examination of literary, legal, medical and epigraphic sources, she identifies the social pressures that tended to overwhelm concerns about girls’ individual health and well-being. In demonstrating how early marriage was driven by a variety of concerns, including the value placed on premarital virginity and paternal authority, this book enhances an understanding of the position of girls as they made the transition from childhood to womanhood.

Smolkin-Rothrock Receives Honorable Mention for Distinguished Article Prize

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

An article by Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock received honorable mention for the Distinguished Article Prize from the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture. Smolkin-Rothrock is assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Her article, titled “The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism,” appeared in Volume 73, Issue 2 of The Russian Review and was selected from among 22 entries. The honor comes with a $200 award.

Smolkin-Rothrock’s article examines the confrontation of Soviet scientific atheism with religion as it played out on the pages and in the editorial rooms of the country’s primary atheist periodical, Nauka i religiia (Science and Religion). It follows a story that begins in the 1960s, when the journal tried to change its title to Mir cheloveka (The World of Man) to reorient itself from the battle against religion towards the battle for Soviet (and therefore atheist) spiritual life. Smolkin-Rothrock argues that while the Khrushchev era is the point of origin for much of late Soviet policy on religion and atheism, it is only with the Brezhnev era that we see understandings of religion move beyond ideological stereotypes. New conceptions of religion, however, forced atheists to consider Communist ideology in unexpected ways, and led to revealing discussions the Soviet state’s role in providing spiritual fullness. The story of Nauka i religiia is a microcosm of Soviet ideology in that it reveals the boundaries and contradictions of the material and the spiritual in the Soviet project.

Sanislow, Sypher ’13 Published in Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology

A chapter titled “Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)” by Charles Sanislow, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, was published in the Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology in January.

Kevin Quinn of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Isaiah Sypher ’13 co-authored the chapter.

Sypher worked in Sanislow’s lab at Wesleyan and then went on to a research position at the NIMH Intramural Program in Affective Neuroscience. He is currently in the process of applying to clinical science programs in psychology.

Sanislow and Quinn are both charter members of the NIMH Working Group for the RDoC, a project that is developing a new diagnostic approach based on internal mechanisms to guide research on mental disorders.

Choice Names Eisner’s Book a “Outstanding Academic Title”

eisnerbookA book by Marc Eisner, the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair of Public Policy, was selected as a winner of the Outstanding Academic Titles by Choice in 2014.

Eisner’s book, The American Political Economy was published in 2014. In this innovative text, he portrays the state and the market as inextricably linked, exploring the variety of institutions subsumed by the market and the role that the state plays in creating the institutional foundations of economic activity. Through a historical approach, Eisner situates the study of American political economy within a larger evolutionary-institutional framework that integrates perspectives in American political development and economic sociology.

Eisner also is chair and professor of government, professor of environmental studies.

Grossman is Appointed Research Fellow, Journal Associate Editor

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman recently accepted two new posts. He was appointed to be a research fellow in the Economic History Program of the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Founded in 1983, CEPR’s mission is “to enhance the quality of economic policymaking within Europe and beyond, by fostering high quality, policy-relevant economic research, and disseminating it widely to decision-makers in the public and private sectors.” Grossman is one of only a few American research fellows at CEPR.

He was also recently appointed associate editor for socioeconomics, health policy and law of the journal Neurosurgery. See here for a bio of Grossman and other editors of the journal.

Paper by Gilmore, Harner MA ’13 Says Mars May Host Hydrous Carbonate Minerals

S00191035Martha Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, and her former graduate student Patrick Harner MA ’13 are the co-authors of a paper titled “Visible–near infrared spectra of hydrous carbonates, with implications for the detection of carbonates in hyperspectral data of Mars,” published in Icarus, Vol. 250, pages 204-214, April 2015.

The paper suggests that hydrous carbonate minerals might be relevant on Mars.

“We bought and made these unusual minerals in my lab and then took spectra of them to simulate what Mars orbiters might see. Carbonate minerals form in water on Earth (e.g., limestones), and are predicted for Mars, but to date are uncommon on Mars,” Gilmore explained. “We suggest this may be because Mars may host hydrous carbonates which look very different than the anhydrous carbonates everyone is looking for in the data.”

Gilmore also is chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Grossman Discusses Gold Prices with China Daily

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman spoke to China Daily about gold price fluctuations in connection with the Chinese New Year and other annual celebrations. Many in the Chinese community purchase gold jewelry and other gifts to help celebrate the holiday.

“There does seem to be a seasonal element to consumer demand for gold in several countries. In China, demand increases in months leading up to the New Year. In India, it is said to increase during the holiday/wedding season, which runs from the end of September through January,” said Grossman.

But, he added, inflation, currency movements, and economic and political stability are “far more important factors” in gold price fluctuations than seasonal demands from China and India.

Lensing’s Commentary Featured in Times Literary Supplement

A commentary by Leo Lensing, chair and professor of German studies, professor of film studies, was featured in the Times Literary Supplement in January.

The commentary focuses on Austria’s exploitation of Karl Kraus’s great anti-war drama, The Last Days of Mankind, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Kraus first published the play in four special issues of his satirical journal Die Fackel (The Torch) in 1918–19.

“The red wrappers and the documentary photograph of Wilhelm II used as the frontispiece of the epilogue initially lent it the explosive impact of a revolutionary pamphlet,” Lensing writes in the commentary. “Kraus continued to revise and add new scenes based on information suppressed under war-time censorship, until the first book edition appeared in 1922.”