In the Media

McAlister on Vodou’s Rise with Haitian-Americans

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion and expert on the religion of Vodou, was cited in the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the recent gravitation toward Vodou by many young Haitian immigrants. The popularity of the religion, which blends ancient African religious traditions with the worship of Catholic saints, is said to be increasing because many first and second generation Haitians are looking to reconnect spiritually with their ancestral homeland.

WESU, Youth Radio Project Featured

An article in The Christian Science Monitor features the community outreach being done by 8 student mentors with Middletown youth at WESU. The program, created by Mu Abeledo ’09 and Jessica Jones ’08, involves mentors teaching the participants how to operate equipment, refine their on-air abilities and broadcast their own shows live on WESU.

The New Yorker Cites Lim on ‘The Speech’

The book, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency by Elvin Lim, assistant professor of government, is cited extensively in the January 12, 2009 issue of The New Yorker. The article, which discusses President-elect Obama’s upcoming inaugural speech and the overall dilution of presidential speech-writing, cites Lim’s work extensively, and includes these passages:

“Lim dates the institutionalization of the anti-intellectual Presidency to 1969, when Nixon established the Writing and Research Department, the first White House speechwriting office. There had been speechwriters before, but they were usually also policy advisers. With Nixon’s Administration was born a class of professionals whose sole job was to write the President’s speeches, and who have been rewarded, in the main, for the amount of applause their prose could generate. Of F.D.R.’s speeches, only about one a year was interrupted for applause (and no one  when he said that fear is all we have to fear). Bill Clinton’s last State of the Union address was interrupted a hundred and twenty times.”

and

“Lim interviewed forty-two current and former White House speechwriters. But much of his analysis rests on running inaugurals and other Presidential messages through something called the Flesch Readability Test, a formula involving the average number of words in a sentence and the average number of syllables per word. Flesch scores, when indexed to grade levels, rate the New York Times at college level; Newsweek at high school; and comic books at fifth grade. Between 1789 and 2005, the Flesch scores of Inaugural Addresses descended from a college reading level to about an eighth-grade one. Lim takes this to mean that Inaugural Addresses are getting stupider.”

The full article can be seen here (for New Yorker subscribers only).

Mangini ’94 Named Head Coach of Cleveland Browns

Eric Mangini ’94 was introduced as the new head coach of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Mangini, who had finished the season as coach of the New York Jets was scooped up by the Browns just nine days after he left the Jets. Michael Arce of the Columbus Dispatch lauds Mangini’s roots here at Wesleyan and in Connecticut. More coverage, including clips from Mangini’s press conference and Mangini talking about his start in professional football can be found here.

Men Hand #5 Amherst Season’s First Basketball Loss

In dramatic fashion, the Wesleyan Men’s Basketball Team gave NESCAC rival and nationally-ranked #5 Amherst its first loss of the season with a buzzer-beating, last-second shot from 30 feet away by Jeremy Kaminer ’10. Channel 30 reported the news and offers a video highlight provided by Wesleyan’s Athletic Department. The January 6th win was the Men’s first against Amherst’s basketball team since 2001.

Bennet ’87 Nominated For U.S. Senate

Michael Bennet ’87 has been nominated by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to replace Ken Salazar in The United States Senate. Currently the Public School Superintendent in Denver, Bennet has also served as deputy U.S. Attorney General under former President Bill Clinton. Salazar has been nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of the Interior and Bennet would become Colorado’s junior senator once Salazar’s nomination is confirmed. More about Michael Bennett can be found in his official biography. Additional news coverage on Bennet’s nomination includes The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others.

Kuivila, Chernoff on ‘Feet to the Fire’ Project

Ron Kuivila, chair of music, and Barry Chernoff, professor of biology and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, were featured on WNPR recently regarding a musical installation called “The Weather at Six” which is part of the Feet to the Fire project.  The Weather at Six uses the Wesleyan carillon for’ a sonic interpretation of the weather of the last 130 years and is designed to get people to think about global warming.’