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Category Archive for 'Publications'

Matthew Garrett

New book by Matthew Garrett.

Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, is the author of Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution, published by Oxford University Press in April 2014.

In Episodic Poetics, Garrett merges narrative theory with social and political history to explain the early American fascination with the episodic, piecemeal plot.

Since Aristotle’s Poetics, the episode has been a vexed category of literary analysis, troubling any easy view of the subsumption of unwieldy narrative parts into well-plotted wholes. Episodic Poeticsproposes a new method of reading and a new way of conceiving of literary history. The book combines theoretical reflection and historical rigor with careful readings of texts from the early American canon such as The Federalist, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, along with hitherto understudied texts and ephemera such as Washington Irving’s Salmagundi, Susanna Rowson’s Trials of the Human Heart and the memoirs of the metalworker and failed entrepreneur John Fitch. Garrett recounts literary history not as the easy victory of grand nationalist ambitions, but rather as a series of social struggles expressed through writers’ recurring engagement with incompletely integrated forms.

Read more about Garrett in this past Wesleyan Connection article.

New book edited by Clark Maines.

New book edited by Clark Maines.

Clark Maines, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, is the co-editor of the book Consuetudines et Regulae: Sources for Monastic Life in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, published by Brepolis Publishers in April 2014. Maines also is professor of art history, professor of archaeology, professor of environmental studies and professor of medieval studies.

This volume addresses the nature and quality of the lives of monks and canons in Western Europe during the middle ages and the early modern period.  Building on the collaborative spirit of recent work on medieval religion, it includes studies by historians of the religious orders, liturgy and ritual as well as archaeologists and architectural historians. Several studies combine the interpretation of texts, most particularly customaries and rules, with the analysis of architecture. The volume sheds new and exciting light on monastic daily life in all its dimensions from the liturgical and the quotidian to the spatial and architectural.

Clark Maines

Clark Maines

Carolyn Marino Malone, professor of art history at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles co-authored the book.

At Wesleyan, Maines specializes in the study of monasticism from architecture in its structural and ritual dimensions to technology and monastic domains.

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-author of a paper titled “Carbon Sequestration during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum by an Efficient Biological Pump,” published in the April 2014 edition of Nature Geoscience.

In the paper, Thomas explains how ocean-dwelling bacteria may have vacuumed up carbon and halted a period of extreme warmth some 56 million years ago. The finding suggests how Earth might once have rapidly reversed a runaway greenhouse effect.

Its effect on global oceanic productivity is controversial. In the paper, Thomas and her colleagues present records of marine barite accumulation rates that show distinct peaks during this time interval, suggesting a general increase in export productivity. The authors propose that changes in marine ecosystems, resulting from high atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 and ocean acidification, led to enhanced carbon export from the photic zone to depth, thereby increasing the efficiency of the biological pump. Higher seawater temperatures at that time increased bacterial activity and organic matter regeneration.

Gabriel Popkin ’03 wrote about Thomas’s research in a April 2014 article titled “Ocean Bacteria May Have Shut Off Ancient Global Warming” in Science News.

Lori Gruen

Lori Gruen

The Ethics of Captivity

Book edited by Lori Gruen.

Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, professor of environmental studies, and coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies recently edited a new book, The Ethics of Captivity. The book explores the various conditions of captivity for humans and for other animals and examines ethical themes that imprisonment raises.  Chapters written by those with expert knowledge about particular conditions of captivity discuss how captivity is experienced.  The book also contains new essays by philosophers and social theorists that reflect on the social, political, and ethical issues raised by captivity.

One topic covered in many chapters in the book is zoos.  Gruen recently published on Oxford University Press’s blog about the high-profile killing of a two-year-old giraffe named Marius by the Copenhagen Zoo because his genes were already “well-represented” in Europe’s giraffe population. His body was autopsied in public and fed to lions. Those lions, an adult pair and their two cubs, were later killed to make room for a younger male lion that was not related to any of the captive female lions.

Gruen writes that while zoos were originally designed to entertain visitors, they have increasingly expanded their roles to include conservation and education due to the heightened awareness of endangered species and the danger of extinction. Zoos tend to place more value in the overall genetic diversity of a captive population than on the well-being of an individual animal. Gruen  suggests that seeing animals as disposable may undermine conservation efforts. That attitude towards animals is part of what has lead to so many wild animals to be threatened.  She reminds us that “Causing death is what zoos do. It is not all that they do, but it is a big part of what happens at zoos, even if this is usually hidden from the public. Zoos are institutions that not only purposely kill animals, they are also places that in holding certain animals captive, shorten their lives. Some animals, such as elephants and orca whales, cannot thrive in captivity and holding them in zoos and aquaria causes them to die prematurely.”  Some of the chapters in the upcoming book explore how zoos affect animals in the zoos and the people who watch those animals.

Click here to learn more about the book or to purchase it.

Gruen also wrote a post on OUP Blog based on the book.

Book co-authored by Professor Phillip Wagoner

Book co-authored by Phillip Wagoner.

Professor Phillip Wagoner is the co-author of Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600, published by Oxford University Press in March 2014. Wagoner is chair and professor of archaeology, professor of art history.

Focusing on India’s Deccan Plateau, this book explores how power and memory combined to produce the region’s built landscape, as seen above all in its monumental architecture. During the turbulent 16th century, fortified frontier strongholds like Kalyana, Warangal, or Raichur were repeatedly contested by primary centers—namely, great capital cities such as Bijapur, Vijayanagara or Golconda. Examining the political histories and material culture of both primary and secondary centers, the book investigates how and why the peoples of the Deccan, in their struggles for dominance over secondary centers, promoted certain elements of their remembered past while forgetting others.

The book also rethinks the usefulness of Hindu-Muslim relations as the master key for interpreting this period of South Asian history, and proposes instead a model based on parallel cultures of rulership grounded in different prestige languages, Sanskrit and Persian. Further, the authors systematically integrate the methodologies of history, art history and archaeology in their attempt to reconstruct the past, as opposed to the standard practice of using one of these methodologies to the exclusion of the others. The book thus describes and explains the interstate politics of the medieval Deccan at a more grass-roots level than hitherto attempted.

Memoir by Clifford Chase.

Memoir by Clifford Chase.

Clifford Chase, visiting writer in the English Department, is the author of The Tooth Fairy: Parents, Lovers and Other Wayward Deities published by Overlook Press on Feb. 6.

The Tooth Fairy is a humorous memoir of a man torn between isolation and connection. Chase tells stories that have shaped his adulthood through intimate confessions, deadpan asides and observations on the fear and turmoil that defined the long decade after 9/11. He writes about his aging parents, whose disagreements sharpen as their health declines; his sexual confusion in his 20s; the joyful music of the B-52s; his beloved brother, lost tragically to AIDS; and his long-term boyfriend—always present, but always kept at a distance.

The Tooth Fairy was reviewed in The Paris Daily ReviewNewsdayThe Minneapolis Star-TribuneBooklistKirkusBiographile and SliceChase also wrote an op-ed titled “The Teeth of Memory” published in the March 6 edition of The New York Times.

In a Slice article, Chase explains how he began writing in one-sentence fragments. “In early 2001, as life was unfolding. I had only the vaguest intuition of what I was doing—what constituted a ‘good’ fragment, where it should go in the narrative, why writing this way felt right to me. But I’d always liked working in vignettes, and I suppose The Tooth Fairy simply shrinks the unit of the vignette down to a single sentence. At first I was writing just a single essay, but then I wrote another, and it began to seem like the form had enough possibilities to be sustained over the course of a book.”

In this Henry Review video, Chase discusses his memoir in a Q&A.

Chase also is the author of the cult classic novel Winkie, the memoir The Hurry-Up Song, and he edited the anthology Queer 13: Lesbian & Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade.

Book by Alex Dupuy.

Book by Alex Dupuy.

Alex Dupuy, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, is the author of a new book, Haiti: From Revolutionary Slaves to Powerless Citizens. Essays on the Politics and Economics of Underdevelopment, 1804-2013published by Routledge on Feb. 24.

The book examines Haiti’s position within the global economic and political order, including how more dominant countries have exploited Haiti over the last 200 years. Haiti’s fragile democracy has been founded on subordination to and dominance of foreign powers.

James “Jim” Greenwood, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, and four colleagues have co-authored a paper titled “The Lunar Apatite Paradox,” published in the  journal Science on March 20. 

The study casts doubt on the theory of abundant water on the moon while simultaneously boosting theories around the creation of the moon, several billion years ago.

Book by Bill Firshein.

Book by Bill Firshein.

Bill Firshein, the Daniel Ayers Professor of Biology, emeritus, is the author of the book, The Infectious Microbe, published by Oxford University Press in January 2014. Firshein is the founding faculty member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department.

In The Infectious Microbe, Firshein uses six different critical diseases to illustrate how viruses and bacteria are spread. He discusses the relationship between man and virus, and how to defeat viruses.

The book will help non-scientific readers better understand the issues surrounding the spread of disease.

Thomas Broker ’66, professor of biochemistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, described the book as an “engaging journey into the world of pathogens” and a “must-read for everyone concerned with their personal, family and community health and with national and global health policies, or who has simply wondered about the nature of the infectious diseases to which we are all susceptible.”

Order the book online here.

On March 5, the Wasch Center hosted a book-signing party for Firshein, pictured at right.

On March 5, the Wasch Center hosted a book-signing party for Firshein, pictured at right.

Book by John Finn.

Book by John Finn.

John Finn, professor of government, is the author of Peopling the Constitution (Constitutional Thinking), published by the University Press of Kansas on Feb. 24.

According to the University Press of Kansas, Peopling the Constitution outlines a very different view of the Constitution as a moral and philosophical statement about who we are as a nation. This “Civic Constitution” constitutes us as a civic body politic, transforming “the people” into a singular political entity. Juxtaposing this view with the legal model, the “Juridic Constitution,” Finn offers a comprehensive account of the Civic Constitution as a public affirmation of the shared principles of national self-identity, and as a particular vision of political community in which we the people play a significant and ongoing role in achieving a constitutional way of life. The Civic Constitution is the constitution of dialogical engagement, of contested meanings, of political principles, of education, of conversation.

Peopling the Constitution offers a new interpretation of the American constitutional project in an effort to revive a robust understanding of citizenship. It considers the entire constitutional project, from its founding and maintenance to its failure, with insights into topics ranging from the practice of deliberative democracy and the meaning of citizenship, to constitutional fidelity, civic virtue, the separation of powers, federalism, and constitutional interpretation. The Civic Constitution, in Finn’s telling, is primarily a political project requiring an active, engaged, and most importantly, constitutionally educated citizenry committed to the civic virtues of civility and tending. When we as citizens are unwilling or unable to tend to and sustain the Constitution, and when constitutional questions reduce to legal questions and obscure civic interests, constitutional rot results. And in post-9/11 America, Finn argues, constitutional rot has begun to set in.

Rashida Shaw '99

Rashida Shaw ’99

Assistant Professor of Theater Rashida Shaw ‘99 shared her observations as a researcher, ethnographer and audience member who has attended urban theater productions in Chicago for a chapter in a book called Black Theater Is Black Life: An Oral History of Chicago Theater and Dance, 1970-2010, written by Harvey Young and Queen Meccasia Zabriskie, and published in November 2013 by Northwestern University Press.

It features interviews with producers, directors, choreographers, designers, dancers, and actors, and serves to frame the colorful four-decade period for the African American artistic community in the Windy City.

Michael McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is co-author of “A New System for Naming Ribosomal Proteins” published in Current Opinion in Structural Biology 24:1–5 in 2014.

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