Faculty

De Boer On Volcanic Rumblings in Indonesia

CBS News cites the work of Emeritus Professor Jelle Zelinga de Boer in its report on the recent rumblings of an Indonesian volcano, Mount Tambora, which is in the famed “Ring of Fire” on the edge of the Pacific plate, one of the world’s most volatile subduction zones. The Ring of Fire also produced the Krakatoa eruption, an event which dramatically lowered temperatures worldwide between 1815-16 and created the “year without a summer.” Mount Tambora, has been causing earthquakes severe enough to get normally sanguine local residents to evacuate.

Peters: U.S. Losing Leverage in Palestinian Aid Gambits

In a piece for Foreign Policy, Anne Peters, assistant professor of government, discusses why aid from the U.S., which has often been a leverage tool in foreign affairs, is not having the desired effect with the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). Among the reasons has been a decline in American influence with other Arab nations during the last few years, and the internal political dynamics of the P.A.

Rutland: Russian Relations May Become Election Issue

Speaking in a recent NPR (National Public Radio) report, Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor of Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European Studies, commented on the Obama administration’s treatment of Russia, and how perceptions of President Obama being soft on Russia could be used by Republicans as a campaign issue.

Cohan: Baseball, Bacteria and Koufax’s Perfect Game

In an OpEd for The Los Angeles Times, Frederick M. Cohan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies, discusses how his experience as a child watching perhaps the greatest “perfect game” in baseball history  – The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax’s 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs in 1965 – provided lessons for the mining of old data for both baseball front offices and biologists such as himself who specialize in studying bacteria.

Seamon: Many People’s 9-11 Memories are Inaccurate

Discussing the phenomenon of how memories change over time in The Hartford Courant, Professor of Psychology, Professor of Neuroscience and Behavior John Seamon explains that the mental narrative many of us have created contain inaccuracies, even for seminal events such as the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Seamon, who studies how people remember and recall information, says that many people change details or add “facts” to their mental accounts over time, imbuing them with emotion and convictions. The changes are so profound that, even when confronted with the actual facts of the events, people will continue to insist that their memories are accurate.

Chenoweth: Nonviolent Uprisings Effective for Change

Writing for Foreign Policy, Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor of government, explains why, on average, nonviolent uprisings are more successful than armed uprisings at creating governmental change, even in oppressive regimes. While such a claim may seem counter-intuitive, Chenoweth has spent several years researching the subject and found that, since the beginning of the 20th Century, nonviolent uprisings succeed far more often than armed rebellions. Chenoweth has recently co-authored a book with Maria J. Stephan on the subject titled, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press).

Craighead: U.S. Budget Is Not Like Household Budget

In an OpEd for The Los Angeles Times, Bill Craighead, assistant professor of economics, says that Washington politicians have confused the exactly role being played by the federal deficit in our current economic downturn. Craighead says the deficit is a consequence – not the cause – of the slumping economy, and in fact, to fight unemployment deficit spending is essential.

Roth on Economic Impact at Conference with Governor

As noted by WNPR and The Hartford Courant, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discussed the economic impact of private colleges and universities at a meeting of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), which was attended by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and held at Wesleyan. President Roth is quoted in the stories addressing some of the immediate and long-term contributions made by private higher education institutions to the state and regional economies.

Basinger Featured at El Paso Film Festival

Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, was a featured speaker at the El Paso Texas “Plaza Classic Film Festival,” according to The El Paso Times.

Chales Horak, the festival’s artistic director, described Basinger as “one of the most important film scholars alive today.” She founded the Wesleyan University’s Cinema Archives, which includes the historical documents of Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Frank Capra, and actor Richard Widmark, among others.

Basinger introduced the films “Night and the City,” staring Widmark, “Mildred Pierce,” staring Joan Crawford, and “Swing Time” staring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, as well as spoke on a panel about classic films and screenwriting.

Rutland: War Clouds Gathering in the Caucasus?

Writing for The Moscow Times, Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, says that unrest between Armenia and Azerbaijan may develop into a war which could ultimately involve Russia. The contention centers on the province of Karabakh and its surrounding districts. Armed conflict will almost certainly provide an opportunity for Russia to insert itself in much the same way it did in Georgia in 2008.