Swinehart on Gordon’s “Dorothea Lange”

In The Chicago Tribune, Assistant Professor of History Kirk Swinehart reviews Dorthea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits, by Linda Gordon. Despite enduring attempts to wrap Lange in larger than life folklore and mystique, Gordon says that the pioneering photographer from the last century saw herself less as a proto feminist and “artist” and more of a working photojournalist, albeit, one who enjoyed the limelight. According to Swinehart, “In its grace, precision, and infinite subtlety, Gordon’s biography resembles Lange herself. Indeed, the whole is founded on a bedrock of human decency that Lange would have admired.”

Foyle on Voter Anger, Poor Communication By Obama

Douglas Foyle, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Professor of Government, discussed the political landscape in the aftermath of the special election for U.S. Senator in Massachusetts and how it affects Connecticut and the nation. Foyle says that along with voter frustration, President Obama has been ineffective in communicating his message, especially with regards to specific plans for repairing the economy.

McAlister, Ulysse on Haiti, Relief and Vodou

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of African American studies,and Gina Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, both focus on Haiti and components of Haitian culture in their studies. In response to the recent earthquake in the island nation, both have been offering insights to the situation.

McAlister comments in The New York Times forum on Haiti; a radio interview for Interfaith Voices; on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Vodou’s role in Haiti, especially in the wake of the earthquake; she also discussed religion’s role in Haiti for CNN and has an OpEd for the cable news network as well she has an explanation of the Haitian artist’s work featured on the cover of the January 25, 2010 issue of The New Yorker; a piece on Pat Robertson’s controversial comments on Haiti and “Satan” in Forbes, and discusses the impact of Voodoo on the culture in the wake of the disaster in The Washington Post.

Ulysse, who was born in Haiti, has this piece for The Huffington Post saying that Haiti will never be the same, and another for NPR that discusses the situation on the ground and what it will be like weeks from now when the national news cycle has moved on to other events.

Ulysse on Avatar, Voodoo & White Redemption

In a recent piece for The Huffington Post, Gina Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, examines the recent film Avatar within the constructs of Voodoo and the Hollywood chestnut of white people saving the “noble savage.”

McKenna to Coach at Winter Olympics

Wesleyan Women’s Hockey Coach Jodi McKenna will be the assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada next month. “It’s a great experience,” McKenna said. “I’m working with a great staff. I’m learning a lot. The players are great. Hopefully, there are a lot of things I’ll be able to take back to Wesleyan.”

Roth on Menand’s ‘The Marketplace of Ideas’

In The Los Angeles Times, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth reviews Louis Menand’s latest book: The Market Place of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. Roth says the slim tome examines some of the challenges and conditions faced by universities and colleges today. This includes the question: “How do you create a general education program required by all undergraduates?” There is also an examination of the faculty and the process by which they become college-level educators.”This slim volume of loosely linked essays doesn’t offer any solutions to the resistance to innovation at America’s best universities,” Roth writes, “but it does show how we have created professional academic conformity.”

Royer: New Study Improves Ancient Climate Record

In a news piece in Nature, Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, comments on a new soil study that improves the data on carbon dioxide levels present millions of years ago. Accurately putting this data in perspective helps sciences place current carbon dioxide and climate levels in context to past conditions where carbon dioxide levels were elevated.

Grossman: 00’s Economic Errors Avoidable in Future

In an opinion piece for The Hartford Courant, Richard Grossman, professor of economics, discusses the financial perils the nation and world faced during the first decade of the 21st Century, including the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the collapse of the American housing market, and the effect of fringe financial products and deficit spending. He also goes on to discuss how these types of situations can be avoided in the next decade and beyond with the application of some sound, common sense policies.

Yohe: Climate Conference A New Starting Point

In a piece posted by ABC News, Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, is quoted in the wake of the December Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Why many in the news media were quick to characterize the conference as a “failure” the article contends that it may be decades before its affects – positive or negative – are truly known. Yohe says the conference created ‘new diplomatic territory’ and has produced an iterative process that will require frequent adjustment and more discussion from all countries involved.

Basinger on Nancy Meyers’ Films, Characters

In The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, contrasts the films and characters of Nancy Meyers with those of other writer-directors, including Frank Capra. “She makes it easy for the actors and the audience,” Basinger says. “They can slip into their parts and be happy, and we can slip into our seats and be happy.” Meyers is the writer-director of the new film “It’s Complicated.”