Bruce Resurrects ‘Flora’ for Spoleto Festival 2010

Flora was the first ballad opera performed in North America, and one of the most popular opera’s of its time – the mid-1700s. Opera fans have long been eager to hear and see it performed, but a full scale revival faced a bit of a problem: only 18 pages of the opera’s music has survived. Recreating this piece in the style and scope faithful the original production would be a daunting task, but one Neely Bruce, professor of music, professor of American Studies, was excited to undertake.

The result of his work was premiered at the 2010 Spoleto Festival, in Charleston, S.C., and lauded by The New York Times. Spoleto runs from May 28-June 13 and is one of The United States’ largest annual arts festivals. Bruce said recreating Flora was “a big job” but one that was well worth the effort, saying the libretto had always been “extremely funny with a strong sense of language, and it’s quite salacious, with stock comedy situations — some of them very broad, almost slapstick.”

Wesleyan Holds 178th Commencement Ceremonies

Wesleyan University held its 178th annual Commencement ceremonies on Andrus Field at 11 a.m., May 23. Complete coverage can be found here.

The address by the 2010 Commencement Speaker Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ’74, M.A. ’80, can be found here.

President Michael S. Roth’s address to the graduates can be found here.

The Senior Address by Latasha Alcindor ’10 can be found here.

Photo galleries are available here and here, and are being periodically updated.

Student-Run School, Clinic in Kenya Highlighted

The Kibera School for Girls and The Johanna Justin Jinich Memorial Clinic of Kibera were featured on Channel 3 News. The story discusses the facilities created by a small group of Wesleyan students their organization Shining Hope for Communities. The school was built last year and the clinic will go up this summer. Shining Hope for Communities has received more than $100,000 in grants and awards this year alone.

Shining Hope for Communities and the Kibera School for Girls were founded and created by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09; they were joined by Leah Lucid ’10 and Arielle Tolman ’10 in their efforts to create the Johnna Justin Jinich Memorial Clinic. Robert Rosenthal, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, serves as the president of their board of directors. More information can be found at www.hopetoshine.org.

Work by McCloughan ’10 Previews Eiko WESeminar

Watching this short video of a project by Mark McCloughan ’10 gives viewers a sense of the type of dance and movement taught and performed by Artist-in-Residence Eiko Otate P ’07, ’10. McCloughan, is Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of a Theater Department award for his work.

Otake is presenting a WESeminar titled “Eiko & Koma’s Delicious Movement Workshop” on Sat. May 22, 3 p.m., at the Bessie Shonberg Dance Studios on 247 Pine St.

A full schedule of all WESeminars can be seen here.

Basinger’s Memory a ‘Paradise’ for Prof. Seamon

The Hartford Courant reports on how Professor of Psychology John Seamon became intrigued by a feat of memory achieved by local resident John Basinger, who decided in the late 1990s to celebrate the coming of the millennium by memorizing a poem – one that was more than 60,000 words long: John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Seamon, who is also a professor of neuroscience and behavior, studies memory and recall, among other subjects. He was amazed at Basinger’s ability to learn and recite the entire 12-book epic poem verbatim. He knew other researchers would be intrigued, as well, and Basinger agreed to sit for a battery of tests and queries. Basinger, a retired local educator, said that he committed the poem to memory an hour a day while working out at a local gym. He needed somewhere between “3,000 to 4000 hours” to get Paradise Lost completely memorized.

Basinger is the husband of Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies.

Peters’ Fellowship Appointment Focuses on Terrorism

Anne Peters, assistant professor of government. (Photo by Claire Seo-In Choi)

Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government, has been selected as a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. As an FDD fellow, Peters will participate in an intensive course on terrorism and counterterrorism at the University of Tel Aviv from May 30 to June 9. The course examines terrorism from a variety of political, academic, and law enforcement perspectives. It also includes site visits to Israeli security installations and border zones, as well as meetings with Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian officials.

Peters’ expertise is in the political economies of the Middle East. She is interested in how international resource transfers, such as foreign aid, natural resource revenues, and worker remittances, affect the strength of state institutions, the pace and scope of economic reforms, and authoritarian durability. Her book manuscript, titled Special Relationships, Dollars, and Development, considers how the size and composition of authoritarian regime coalitions in Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, and Taiwan determined whether or not US foreign aid was used for long-term economic development or short-term patronage.

Although her courses substantially address Middle Eastern political economies, Peters aims to provide students with broad exposure to other key issues in the region. This includes units on violent and nonviolent social movements, terrorism, and counterterrorism.

“When I teach courses on the comparative politics

Swinehart on Munson’s Debut ‘November Criminals’

In The Chicago Tribune, Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, reviews November Criminals, the anticipated debut novel by Sam Munson. The book is told from the perspective of Addison Schacht, an intelligent high school senior who is “a motherless crackerjack Latin student and smalltime pot dealer from ‘a tree-heavy upper-middle-class neighborhood in Washington, D.C.’ ” By the way, Schacht also wants to go to college and is working on his application essay, which focuses on the question: “What are your best and worst qualities?.” Munson takes the set-up and creates, according to Swinehart, “one of the funniest, most heartfelt novels in recent memory—a book every bit as worthy of Mark Twain and J. D. Salinger—about the goodwill and decency that sometimes shrouds itself in adolescent vulgarity and swagger.”

Striegel-Moore Study Offers Solution for Binge Eaters

A piece in USA Today reports on a new study by Ruth Striegel-Moore, Walter A. Crowell Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology, that produced a self-directed, easy-to-follow, 12-week method to eliminate binge eating. The study, which Striegel-Moore conducted with researchers from Kaiser Permanente and Rutgers University, offered binge eating sufferers a treatment method that was so successful 64% of  the participants reported they were still not binge eating a year later.