Shinohara’s Solo Exhibitions to be Displayed in Japan

keijiMaster printmaker Keiji Shinohara, artist in residence, will have three solo exhibitions in 2015.” The title is “Keiji Shinohara: Woodcut.”

The first will be at the Odakyu Shinjuku Art Salon in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan March 11-17. For more information call 03-3342-1111 (Japan).

The second show will be at Art Zone-Kaguraoka in Kyoto, Japan May 9-May 25. For more information call o75-754-0155 (Japan).

The exhibition will return to the United States and be on display at the Visual Arts Gallery at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. throughout the month of October.

In addition, Shinohara will be demonstrating Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaking and techniques at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston from noon to 3 p.m. April 6 and April 19. He’ll also lead a workshop at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C. Aug. 9-21.

Shinohara teaches in the Art and Art History Department and the College of East Asian Studies. While living in Kyoto, he trained for 10 years in the traditional Japanese woodblock printing style known as Ukiyo-e.  The technical foundation for his artwork is rooted in that training, accompanied by techniques of contemporary western printmaking, yet the imagery itself is very different from historical Ukiyo-e.

According to Shinohara’s artist statement, “the story behind the work is very important; there is a sense of narrative that is very private. The feelings and emotions that I convey through these abstract landscapes matter most to me. Almost always my images are of nature, but it is the essence of the landscape that I want to express, not realistic accuracy.”

Tucker Explores Photography’s Powerful Role in Our Legal System

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker

An essay by Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker is included in The Five Photographs that (You Didn’t Know) Changed Everything, a five-part BBC radio series focusing on historically important yet little-known photographs.

In her segment, The Tichborne Claimant, Tucker tells the story of how an 1866 photograph of a butcher in Wagga Wagga, Australia, played a central role in a case that gripped Victorian Britain and had an enormous impact on our legal system, raising questions about what photography is for and how it should be used. Says Tucker:

“Sometimes even a mundane photograph can have a powerful and lasting historical impact. This is the story of one such photograph—a picture that not only changed the life of the man it showed, but also set in motion the longest and most expensive trial in British legal history, and sparked a national debate over the role of photography as evidence in a court of law.”

Tucker also is associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, associate professor in the environmental studies program, associate professor of science in society, and faculty fellow in the College of the Environment.


Roth Writes in WSJ on Religion’s Role in the History of Ideas

Michael Roth

Michael Roth

President Michael S. Roth writes in The Wall Street Journal about the importance of exploring religious feelings and experiences in humanities education, and why these topics make students so uncomfortable.

He writes: “Why is it so hard for my very smart students to make this leap—not the leap of faith but the leap of historical imagination? I’m not trying to make a religious believer out of anybody, but I do want my students to have a nuanced sense of how ideas of knowledge, politics and ethics have been intertwined with religious faith and practice.”

“Given my reading list, I often ask these questions about Christian traditions, inviting students to step into the shoes of thinkers who were trying to walk with Jesus. I realize that more than a few of my undergraduates are Christians who might readily speak to this experience in another setting. But in the classroom, they are uncomfortable speaking out. So I carry on awkwardly as best I can: a secular Jew trying to get his students to empathize with Christian sensibilities.”

Rutland Assesses the Threat from Russia in U.K. Mirror

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thoughts, writes in the Mirror (U.K.) about the threat to the West by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He considers the comparison made by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon to the Islamic State. While “Putin’s people are not beheading Christians or burning captives alive,” writes Rutland, Russia has nuclear weapons — lots of them. “And is willing to use them if necessary,” he writes.

“Deterrence only works if both sides see each other as unwilling to risk war. And [Putin] believes the West will not risk nuclear conflict over where to draw Ukraine’s borders, or the language rights of people in breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk,” Rutland writes. “He has shown in words and deeds that he is willing to risk war to stop Ukraine from joining NATO.”

Rutland also is professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Resor, Seixas ’10 Co-Author Paper on Structural Mapping of Hualapai Limestone

Phil Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Gus Seixas ’10 are co-authors of “Constraints on the evolution of vertical deformation and Colorado River incision near eastern Lake Mead, Arizona, provided by quantitative structural mapping of the Hualapai Limestone,” published in the February 2015 issue of Geosphere, Vol. 11, pages 31-49. The paper includes research from Seixas’s honors thesis at Wesleyan.

In this study, the authors quantify the structural geometry of Hualapai Limestone, which was deposited in a series of basins that lie in the path of the Colorado River. The limestone was deformed by by a fault pair known as the Wheeler and Lost Basin Range faults.

Grossman Talks about Quantitative Easing Policy on Share Radio

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, is featured in a radio interview with Share Radio in London Feb. 19.

In the interview, Grossman talks about the consequences of the European Central Bank’s new quantitative easing (QE) policy, which may stimulate an economy when a standard monetary policy has become ineffective.

The ECB’s action follows in the footsteps of the central banks of Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which also have used quantitative easing in the 2000s.

A concern that has been raised about the introduction of QE is that persistent low interest rates will lead to another boom-bust macroeconomic cycle similar to the one that ended  in the US subprime crisis. Grossman, who conducts research on historical episodes of financial crises, argues that the European economy is so weak at the moment that the risk of QE causing a crisis is low, and certainly outweighed by the benefits.

Grossman said implementation of the QE may not be noticed right away.

“Over time, this will put a consistent downward pressure on the euro,” which Grossman argues will help European exporters.

Listen to the program here.

Craighead Co-Authors Paper on Account Reversals in Developing and Industrialized Countries

Bill Craighead, assistant professor of economics, is the co-author of “Current Account Reversals and Structural Change in Developing and Industrialized Countries,” published in the February issue of The Journal of International Trade and Economic Development.

The paper compares the experience of high-income and developing countries in adjusting current account deficits, which measure how much they are relying on external borrowing. In both types of country, construction is the most sensitive sector to the current account. On average, adjustments in developing countries are more severe, but that is mainly due to the effects of currency crises. When you take those out, they look more similar. Employment effects in developing countries are less relative to the changes in output, which may reflect differing labor market institutions.

Craighead credits Lisa Lee ’13 for providing her “outstanding research assistance” while writing the paper. Lee worked on the research in 2011 while participating in the Quantitative Analysis Center’s summer program.

Rudensky’s Photos Featured in Times Story on Russian TV

Early this year, Gary Shteyngart embarked on an experiment for The New York Times: For a week straight, he would “subsist almost entirely on a diet of state-controlled Russian television, piped in from three Apple laptops onto three 55-inch Samsung monitors in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan.”

Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky documented this experiment in a series of photographs that accompany the story. Here is Shteyngart lying in bed, feet encased in hotel slippers, while Russian President Vladamir Putin’s stern face fills three towering television screens. Here Shteyngart is dining on Wagyu beef slices and sipping pinot noir while staring vacantly at the screens. And here, lying in bed gesticulating while a visiting psychiatrist listens to him talk. Russian TV, explains one photo caption, “dulls the senses and raises your ire.”

“Here is the question I’m trying to answer,” Shteyngart explains. “What will happen to me — an Americanized Russian-speaking novelist who emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child — if I let myself float into the television-filtered head space of my former countrymen? Will I learn to love Putin as 85 percent of Russians profess to do? Will I dash to the Russian consulate on East 91st Street and ask for my citizenship back? Will I leave New York behind and move to Crimea, which, as of this year, Putin’s troops have reoccupied, claiming it has belonged to Russia practically since the days of the Old Testament? Or will I simply go insane?”


Women in Science Gather for Tea Reception, Female Scientists Discussion


About 30 Wesleyan students and faculty gathered for a Wesleyan Women in Science (WesWIS) Tea Reception Feb. 19 at the Wasch Center. Women in Science is a student group composed of undergraduates, post-docs, staff and faculty dedicated to issues affecting women in science. The group is open to all majors and genders.

During the gathering, guest speaker Michelle Francl, professor of chemistry on the Clowes Fund for Science and Public Policy at Bryn Mawr College, spoke to the group about physicist and chemist Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Francl handed out copies of her commentary titled “Sex and the Citadel of Science,” which was published in the August 2011 edition of Nature Chemistry, and included a copy of the journal’s cover — a portrait of Marie Curie’s face created from photographs of 200 women scientists (including Francl’s). “I’m actually in here twice. There’s another picture in here of my mother, who also was a chemist, holding me as an infant,” she said.

“I love how energized the room felt at the WesWIS tea,” said Meredith Hughes, assistant professor of astronomy. “It was exciting to have Dr. Francl there, and also to get so many energetic Wesleyan women scientists all in one place!”

WesWIS Steering Committee members Alex Irace ’15 and and Maya Lopez-Ichikawa ’18 spoke about the group and introduced Professor Francl. Francl also delivered two workshops on contemplative pedagogy during her time at Wesleyan.

Photos of the event are below:

Wesleyan Women in Science Tea Reception, Feb. 19, 2015.

Bloom Co-Hosts NYT Magazine‘s “Ethicists” Podcast

Amy Bloom '75

Amy Bloom ’75

Novelist Amy Bloom ’75, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence, director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is co-hosting a new weekly podcast titled “Ethicists.”

The podcast, a re-imagination of the New York Times Magazine’s longtime “The Ethicist” column, features Bloom and two other ethicists answering questions for a half-hour.

NYT Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Wesleyan alumnus Jake Silverstein ’98 invited Bloom to participate in the show. The other panelists are Politico media columnist Jack Shafer and New York School of Law constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino.

The first episode, titled “Close Quarters: Can I ask my neighbors to quiet their baby?” debuted Feb. 18 and is produced in partnership with Slate. Read an edited and condensed version of the podcast online here.

“Future topics will be, we hope, a wide range of ethical quandaries,” Bloom said.

Read more about the podcast launch in this Poynter.org article or download the podcast through iTunes.

Singer’s Caterpillar Defense Studies Published in Ecology, Entomology Journals

In a recent study, Associate Professor Mike Singer compared 41 caterpillar species to show the link between dietary breadth and vulnerability to predators.

Mike Singer

Mike Singer, associate professor of biology, associate professor of environmental studies, is the co-author of several recently-published papers. They include:

Thee struggle for safety: effectiveness of caterpillar defenses against bird predation,” is in press and will appear in the April 2015 issue of Oikos. This article shows how the camouflaged or bold appearance of a caterpillar can protect it from predatory birds in Connecticut forests. Former BA/MA student, Isaac Lichter-Marck ’11, ’12, is the first author of this article.

Defensive mixology: Combining acquired chemicals toward defense,” is published in Functional Ecology, 2015. This article proposes a conceptual framework to study the use of natural drug cocktails by animals and plants. Peri Mason Ph.D. ’12 is the first author of this article.

The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores,” is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 2015. This article reports a common mathematical distribution that describes the range of dietary specificity of plant-feeding insects around the world. This research is an international collaboration among many ecologists.

Ecological immunology mediated by diet in herbivorous insects,” published in Integrative and Comparative Biology 54, pages 913-921, 2015. This article proposes a conceptual framework to study how diet influences the immune system in plant-feeding insects, such as caterpillars. Peri Mason Ph.D. ’12 co-authored this article.

Enemy-free space for parasitoids,” published in Environmental Entomology 43, pages 1,465-74, 2014. This article uses three case studies to argue that parasitic insects show a signature of adaptation to predation pressure, which has been an overlooked agent of evolution for parasites.

And “A mixed diet of toxic plants enables increased feeding and anti-predator defense by an insect herbivore,” published in Oecologia 176, pages 477-486, 2014. This article shows evidence that woolly bear caterpillars benefit in two ways from a diet that includes multiple toxic plant species. First, the caterpillars eat more food overall so they grow larger. Second, they become more deterrent to their predators. Peri Mason Ph.D. ’12 is the first author of this article.

Northrop Co-Authors Paper with Middletown Student

Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry, is the co-author of several new papers including:

jceda8_v092i002.inddPreparation and Analysis of Cyclodextrin-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks: Laboratory Experiments Adaptable for High School through Advanced Undergraduate Students,” published in Journal of Chemical Education 92, pages 368-372, 2015. Samantha Angle, a Middletown High School student working in Northrop’s lab, co-authored the paper. (See cover at left.)

Rational Synthesis of Bis(hexyloxy)-Tetra(hydroxy)-Triphenylenes and their Derivatives,” published in RSC Advances 4, pages 38,281-392 in 2014;

Vibrational Properties of Boroxine Anhydride and Boronate Ester Materials: Model Systems for the Diagnostic Characterization of Covalent Organic Frameworks,” published in Chemistry of Materials 26, pages 3,781-95 in 2014;

And “Allyl-Functionalized Dioxynaphthalene[38]Crown-10 Macrocycles: Synthesis, Self-Assembly, and Thiol-Ene Functionalization,” published in Chemistry—A European Journal 20, pages 999-1,009 in 2014.