Snapshots

Krishnan Speaks on South Indian Cultural Forms at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

On Dec. 3, Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance, presented a talk about his new book, Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam, at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore. 

On Dec. 3, Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance, presented a talk about his new book, Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam, at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore. 

Celluloid Classicism, published by Wesleyan University Press in August 2019, provides a detailed history of two important modern South Indian cultural forms: Tamil Cinema and Bharatanatyam dance. Krishnan addresses representations of dance in the cinema from an interdisciplinary, critical-historical perspective.

Celluloid Classicism, published by Wesleyan University Press in August 2019, provides a detailed history of two important modern South Indian cultural forms: Tamil cinema and Bharatanatyam dance. Speaking at the event, he observed that Wesleyan is “a primary site of the reinvention of the dance in the 20th century” with noted Bharatanatyam dancer T. Balasaraswati serving as the first artist in residence at Wesleyan University in the 1960s. Additionally, her brothers, T. Viswanathan and T. Ranganathan, taught in the Music Department for several decades. “So this art form is very much embedded into pedagogy into the DNA at Wesleyan,” he said, noting the responsibility he felt in continuing this tradition at Wesleyan, adding “I’m not interested in relegating Bharatanatyam as some kind of museum historical dance style. I’m interested in giving the form a kind of postmodern currency and how the form can live and breathe, mutate, transform in a variety of ways.”

Krishnan is an expert on queer subjectivities in South Asian and global dance performance, colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, and the history of devadasi (courtesan) dance traditions in South India. He's also the artistic director of Toronto-based dance company inDANCE.

Reading from the introduction, he explained, “Much of this project is concerned with intersections—historical, aesthetic, political and social—between new cultural forms as they were circulated the early 20th century in South India.” Krishnan is an expert on queer subjectivities in South Asian and global dance performance, colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, and the history of devadasi (courtesan) dance traditions in South India. He’s also the artistic director of Toronto-based dance company inDANCE. (Photos by Simon Duan ’23)

WESU 88.1 FM Celebrates 80th Anniversary with Free Form Jubilee

Jubilee

Wesleyan’s community-based radio station, WESU 88.1 FM, celebrated its 80th anniversary on Dec. 8 with a Free Form Jubilee.

The event, held in the Daniel Family Commons, featured special musical performances and talks by local dignitaries.

Established in 1939, WESU began as one of the first student-owned and -operated radio stations in the country. That fall, Wesleyan freshman Arch Doty Jr. began broadcasting his homemade 1-watt AM transmitter from his Clark Hall dorm room. Eighty years later, WESU is among the largest student groups on Wesleyan’s campus, uniting nearly 150 student and community volunteer broadcasters.

The event featured Noah Baerman, director of the Wesleyan jazz ensemble; Cormac Chester ’20, public affairs director of WESU; Connecticut Senator Mary Abrams; City of Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim ’14; Ben Michael, manager of WESU; Americana musicians Rani Arbo and Scott Kessel; Clifton Watson, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships; Kate Rushin, award-winning poet; Don Minott, roots-reggae singer; Wesleyan rapper Laszlo; Banning Eyre ’79 of Afropop Worldwide; The Super Girls Group, including Lilian Walker of The Exciters, Margaret Ross Williams of The Cookies, and Louise Murray of The Hearts and Jaynetts; and Randy and Freddie Moses of Middletown’s legendary R&B group, The House of Moses.

WESU’s eight-decade legacy of service can be explored in an online exhibit.

(Photos by Simon Duan ’23)

Noah Baerman

Noah Baerman.

roots reggae singer. Don Minott

Don Minott.

Students Create Performances Based on Shadowing Physical Plant Employees

As part of the Introduction to Environmental Studies class, six students embedded themselves into the work lives of Wesleyan’s Physical Plant employees to learn the inner workings of campus.

Leila Henry ’23, Serena Aimen ’22, Tanvi Punja ’22, Molly Scotti ’22, Nina Criswell ’22, and Mikaela Marcotullio ’23 shadowed the Physical Plant workers for three-hour shifts every week throughout the fall semester. The experience concluded with performances on Dec. 5 that represented the culmination of that work.

The class was taught by Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies, and the performances were curated with the help of Allison Orr, creative director of Forklift Danceworks and the Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment.

The second-annual project grew out of BUILD (2016), a dance thesis performance choreographed by Clara Pinsky ’16.

Photos of the class presentations are below and on this Flickr album: (Photos by Laurie Kenney)

53 Students Participate in Career Trek 2019

Fifty-three Wesleyan students explored the workforce firsthand during the Gordon Career Center’s Fall 2019 Career Treks.

Through five experiential learning trips, students directly connected with Wesleyan alumni and engaged with employers across a wide range of industries.

During the fall 2019 semester, the Gordon Career Center’s team of career advisors facilitated career treks to local, Connecticut-based employers: ESPN, Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI), LEGO Systems, Inc., and Pfizer. Additionally, the GCC hosted a day trip for students to Boston to attend the Reach(OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference at Northeastern University.

Alumni hosts included Rob King ’84, senior vice president of original content at ESPN; Jordan Schildhaus ’15, assistant account manager, and Ethan Sack ’97, head of US marketing at LEGO; and Giselle Reyes ’18, MA’19, senior associate scientist at Pfizer.

On Nov. 15, 14 Wesleyan students traveled to Enfield, Conn. to learn about a large global, family-owned company. Ethan Sack ’97, head of U.S. marketing, presented an informative overview and Jordan Schildhaus ’15, associate key account manager, moderated a panel discussion that included perspectives from other LEGO staff. Students toured the company, visited the company store to view LEGO product lines, and engaged with model shop staff.

On Nov. 15, 14 Wesleyan students traveled to Enfield, Conn., to learn about a large global, family-owned company: LEGO. Ethan Sack ’97 presented an informative overview and Jordan Schildhaus ’15 moderated a panel discussion that included perspectives from other LEGO staff. Students toured the company, visited the company store to view LEGO product lines, and engaged with model shop staff.

African Culture, Identity Showcased at Taste of Africa

As part of International Education Week, the African Student Association hosted Taste of Africa on Nov. 15 in Beckham Hall.

The event brought together students from different parts of the African continent and the diaspora to cook meals and showcase artifacts that are symbolic of their culture and identity. Participants shared, celebrated, honored, and educated the Wesleyan community about the diversity and richness of Africa, which transcends borders and continents.

Taste of Africa was co-sponsored by the Fries Center for Global Studies and Resource Center and was held in collaboration with student groups Ujamma, Caribbean Student Association, Haitian Student Collective, and Yaddi.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Nick Sng ’23)

africa

africa

Greenhouse ’73, P’08 Lectures on the Past and Future of American Labor

Greenhouse lectures in the COL library

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08 discussed his book, Beaten Down, Worked Up, in the College of Letters Library. (Photo by Simon Duan ’23)

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08, author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, spoke in the College of Letters Library  on October 29 to a group that included Professor of History Ron Schatz’s class on American Labor History on Oct. 29, in the College Of Letters Library. His topic was “White Collar, Blue Collar and Gig Workers: What is the Future of American Labor?” The lecture was sponsored by the History Department and the College of Letters.

Greenhouse is a former New York Times labor reporter, and a review by Zephyr Teachout of Greenhouse’s book appeared in the paper on Oct. 3. Teachout called Greenhouse’s book an “engrossing, character-driven, panoramic new book on the past and present of worker organizing.” Teachout wrote: “There’s an enormous upheaval in the American workplace right now, and those who tell you they know how the next decade will pan out—for good or ill—don’t know their history. That’s one of the main lessons of Beaten Down, Worked Up … ”

Speaking to those gathered in the COL library, Greenhouse provided some of that history, drawing parallels between a piecework laborer in New York City’s garment district in the late 1800s to 20-something freelance workers putting in long hours hunched over their computers at home in today’s gig economy. He notes that some Uber drivers used to make more money per hour until upper management halved their pay rate, making it nearly impossible to support one’s family, even working 60 hours a week. He observed that Kickstarter, supposedly a labor-friendly organization, fired three out of eight people who were on a unionization committee. He further noted that Amazon now employs often inexperienced independent contractors as delivery drivers who have been involved in a number of serious auto accidents.

Ethnic Food, Art at 3rd Annual Languages Lead the Way

As part of International Education Week at Wesleyan, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted its third annual “The Languages Lead the Way” on Nov. 20 in Fisk Hall. This food, arts, and crafts event focused on conversing in the target languages of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, and American Sign Language.

As part of International Education Week at Wesleyan, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted its third annual Languages Lead the Way event on Nov. 20 in Fisk Hall. This food, arts, and crafts event focused on conversing in the target languages of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, and American Sign Language.

The event was facilitated by Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) from China, Japan, Tunisia, France, Italy, Spain, and Colombia, as well as Teaching Assistants and Wesleyan students from all these languages.

The event was facilitated by Foreign Language Teaching Assistants, teaching assistants, and students representing all 15 Wesleyan language departments. More than 200 guests attended the event. In order to receive food, participants were asked to learn a few words and phrases of the target languages. “It is meant to be an interactive, fun, and educational event,” said Kia Lor, assistant director of language and intercultural learning. “This is one of the several ways the Fries Center for Global Studies is cultivating and empowering a community of practice of language learners, teachers, and practitioners. We believe creating this interconnected community of practice will help individuals achieve intercultural skills, cultural self-awareness, empathy, and mutual understanding. When we can practice these skills among ourselves, we can then translate them into the world at large.”

Swain ’90 Passes through Middletown, Honoring Children who Died in Federal Custody

Christopher Swain '90

Christopher Swain ’90 carries a torch through Middletown.

Human rights advocate Christopher Swain ’90 returned to Middletown last week, carrying an Olympic-style torch during what will be a nearly 5,000-mile journey to the spot where the US-Mexico border begins at the Gulf of Mexico, and then on through the border states to San Diego.

Swain, a parent of two, is participating in a March for the Kids, honoring the memory of the six children known to have died in federal custody.

He is hoping to bring awareness of the children who have been separated from their families and imprisoned and lost at the border; to advocate for all children to be found, freed, and reunited with family; and to share the voices and hopes of the people he meets along the way.

“I don’t know how we will find all of these kids. I don’t know how we will free all of these kids. And I don’t know how we will get them all back to their families. And I don’t know what it will take to make amends,” he said. “But I do know this—even if it takes a moon landing-level effort—we can find a way.”

Swain plans to walk, and occasionally run, 15 to 20 miles per day, five to six to days per week, stopping to refuel his torch every 45 minutes or so.

“The torch is a symbol of hope. I am keeping the flames of hope alive for these children and their families,” Swain said.

Swain invites anyone who feels strongly about the issue of the children to join him.

“If you have ideas about how to find and free these kids, I invite you to walk along with me and share those ideas. Let’s find a way, together.”

Swain graduated from Wesleyan with a double major in French literature and film studies. He stayed on to work for the Wesleyan Development Office until 1992. He also swam through Middletown in the Connecticut River as part of a Swim for Human Rights during the summer of 1996.

“I used to row crew for Wesleyan. I walked into Middletown on Friday over the Arrigoni Bridge from Portland. I used to row under that bridge. And I swam under that bridge during my Swim for Universal Human Rights in 1996. It’s not just another bridge to me,” he said. “And Middletown is not just another town.”

While in Middletown, Swain made a point of connecting with one of his favorite professors, Jeanine Basinger, as he passed the 160-mile mark of his March. “Jeanine transmitted the values of discipline, deep work, and clear thinking to her students. The values and skills she taught me shape my work every day.”

Swain’s March for the Kids is supported entirely by donations. Through a crowdfunding effort, he hopes to raise enough to cover the costs of the march, crew, equipment, and events, and eventually, a documentary film. For more information, follow Swain on Twitter @marchforthekids or email MarchForTheKids@gmail.com.