Tag Archive for alumni publications

Anderson ’71 Publishes Book of Poetry

Clifton B. “Kip” Anderson ’71

Clifton B. “Kip” Anderson ’71

Clifton B. “Kip” Anderson ’71 has written a full-length poetry book, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder, published by White Violet Press in 2013. Anderson was a gardener with the PBS show “The Victory Garden” for over 20 years and only began writing poetry in 2003, at the age of 54. He e-published an e-chapbook, A Walk in the Dark, with The New Formalist Press in 2007. This new work is the first poetry collection he’s published using ink and paper.

Anderson’s poems are strongly influenced by the world of fertility and natural growth, but they are not simply an ode to nature — they’re an examination into the more difficult issues and questions that arise in life. His style draws from New Formalism, a movement exemplified by metrical and rhymed verses that evoke classic forms of poetry. The New Formalism movement, generally speaking, is a response to the anything-goes aesthetic that governs (or doesn’t govern) much modern poetry.

Anderson was a music major at Wesleyan. On the back cover of the book, his future plans are said to include “a severe reduction of his poetic output and a concomitant increase in his noetic input.”

Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder

Book by Clifton B. “Kip” Anderson ’71

 

 

From Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder:

 

Repast

Where woods and hayfield meet
beyond the fenced-in yard:
Our picnic ground, replete
with bone, chipped stone and shard.
Some ancient village dwelt
on this recycled place
Where recently we knelt
and said our table grace.

Collins ’81 Publishes New Poetry Collection

Michael Collins '81

Michael Collins ’81

Michael Collins ’81 has written a new book of poems, The Traveling Queen (Sheep Meadow Press). He sent us the following comments on his collection:

“This book is dedicated to Annie Dillard, who began teaching at Wesleyan University while I was there and who encouraged me to pursue a career as a writer so many times that she finally overcame my misgivings.

“In general, the writing of the book was informed by my sense that poems are promises. ‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see/ so long lives this [poem],’ Shakespeare promises in one sonnet, ‘and this gives life to thee.’  Or, as Etheridge Knight writes in one poem, a lyric can be a chanted as ‘a spell to drive the demons away.’

Poetry by Michael Collins '81

Poetry by Michael Collins ’81

“In the language of the dollar, poems aspire to be ‘legal tender for all debts [that is to say, all promises], public or private’: legal tender for debts we incur in promising to be good as our word, to love ‘till death do us part’ (for the marriage vow is itself a little poem), to sprout up under the reader’s boot soles, like Walt Whitman, or to look long into the Medusa face of reality, so that the reader will not turn to stone. (Prayers and psalms are these sorts of poems).

“The fact that poems are promises gives the poet (at least at my level) something in common with the Ponzi schemer: For, like a Ponzi scheme, a poem is a lie whose worth is based entirely on what people invest in it. But, unlike a Ponzi scheme, a poem is a lie that becomes truer the more people invest in it, the more they allow it to structure their imaginations: Who would think of ‘Homer,’ who may or may not have existed—may or may not have been made out of ‘a mouthful of air,’ as Yeats said one of his poems was—if the Illiad had not made the fires of war and the wills of gods and nations grow out of Helen’s red hair?

“As this special sort of Ponzi schemer’s product, the poem always has the potential to rise in value to the point of becoming priceless—and the potential to become worthless, like the post-World War I German money people are said to have had to cart in wheelbarrows to make simple purchases.”

From The Traveling Queen:

The Funeral

Before they close the casket
the preacher tries to open heaven with his voice,
and whisper the strongman in.

In her review of the collection in the New York Journal of Books, Laverne Frith writes:

The Traveling Queen is a wildly rich and passionately far-reaching collection of poems about which it is almost impossible to make generalizations. One thing is clear—Michael Collins is a poet of obsessions. He is obsessed with history, obsessed with mythic women, obsessed with God. But most of all, Mr. Collins is obsessed with death.”

Born in Jamaica, Collins holds a PhD from Columbia University and teaches English at Texas A&M. He is the author of Understanding Etheridge Knight (University of South Carolina Press, 2013) and has authored literary criticism, creative nonfiction, journalism and fiction in various publications such as PMIA, Callaloo, and Singapore’s The Straits Times.

Crane ’93 Writes Book About AIDS Research in Africa

Johanna Tayloe Crane '93

Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93

Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93 is the author of a new study, Scrambling for Africa: AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science (Cornell University Press) which documents how and why Africa became a major hub of American HIV and AIDS research in recent years after having formerly been excluded from its benefits due to poverty and instability.

Book by Johanna Tayloe Crane '93

Book by Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93

“American AIDS researchers became interested in working in Africa for two major reasons—one humanitarian, and one having more to do with scientific/professional motivations,” Crane said. “Once effective HIV treatment was discovered in the mid-1990s and the American epidemic began to come under control, many U.S. researchers became interested in using the knowledge they had gained fighting HIV in the United States to fight HIV in the part of the world that was hardest hit. That’s the humanitarian piece.

“In addition, once international programs finally began to fund free HIV treatment in Africa in the early 2000s, researchers were drawn there by the scientific opportunity to study huge numbers of patients about to receive their first antiretroviral treatment ever. This large number of ‘treatment naïve’ patients did not exist in the United States because people had been getting experimental treatment since the 1980s, and so working in Africa became very appealing. It’s this second factor that the book is more focused on, as well as the inherent tension between scientific ambition and humanitarian concern.”

Crane is an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences of the University of Washington-Bothell. Though her interest in AIDS/HIV research and its impact in Africa has Wesleyan roots, you wouldn’t guess it by looking at her undergraduate transcript.

“I was an English major at Wesleyan, largely because I thought I wanted to be a writer,” she said. “It took me some time to figure out that fiction writing wasn’t really for me, but that I did love telling stories about the ‘real world.’ This is partly what led me to study anthropology, and to write ethnography (which we often call ‘thick description’). So I think l learned a great deal about writing at Wesleyan that fed into my effort to write what I hope is an engaging, accessible ethnography of the politics of global HIV research.”

During her undergrad years, Crane tried and failed to enroll in the then-popular Wesleyan course “AIDS and its Discourses.” Instead, she studied critical theory and postcolonial theory. Those lenses on to power and inequality influenced her path to studying global health inequalities.

“I first started working in the field of AIDS research post-Wes, in the late 1990s, studying HIV among homeless folks in San Francisco,” she said. “I started working in Uganda in 2003.”

Book by Williams ’60 Studies History and Forensic Analysis

Robert C. Williams '60

Robert C. Williams ’60

In his new book, The Forensic Historian: Using Science to Reexamine the Past (M. E. Sharpe), Robert Williams ’60 demonstrates how seemingly cold cases from history have been solved or had new light shed on them by scientists and historians using new forensic evidence. He provides examples ranging in time from Oetzi the Iceman—who died 5,300 years ago in the Swiss Alps from an arrow wound, yet is known to have had brown eyes Lyme disease, type-O blood, an intolerance to lactose, cavities, and tattoos—to the process of identifying Osama Bin Laden’s body in 2011.

Book by Robert C. Williams '60

Book by Robert C. Williams ’60

“Since World War II, forensic pathology and anthropology have slowly given way to genetics and DNA ‘fingerprinting,’ along with computer hardware and software, as scientific evidence that can stand up in court,” Williams comments in his introduction. “This book highlights that transition through specific case studies showing how modern forensic historians and scientists do their work and what kinds of evidence they must obtain.”

Samples of Beethoven’s hair and bones were found to have abnormally high levels of lead, suggesting he may have died from lead poisoning. The Shroud of Turin was carbon-dated back to the 14th century, not the 1st. The Titanic was found to have been assembled using low-quality rivets that almost certainly played a part in its sinking in 1912. These high-profile cases continue to hold the public’s fascination, and Williams provides a concise synopsis of the methods used to reach conclusions for each. Be forewarned, however, that what you hear in the news relating to cases like these will not always convey the hard science correctly.

“The media cannot wait patiently until forensic historians and scientists finish their plodding work,” writes Williams. “Thus the media often rush to create a virtual reality that encourages forensic historians to publicize their findings prematurely, often without peer review.”

Williams retired in the spring of 2003 as Vail Professor of History at Davidson College, where he served for 13 years as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. He is the author of the best-selling Historian’s Toolbox and of numerous articles and books on Russian history, including Ruling Russian Eurasia: Khans, Clans, and Tsars; Russian Art and American Money, 1900–1940 (nominated by Harvard University Press for the Pulitzer Prize); Klaus Fuchs: Atom Spy; and Russia Imagined: Art, Culture, and National Identity, 1840–1995.

 

Sinnreich ’94 Investigates Consequences of Music Piracy Crusade

AramSinnreich

Aram Sinnreich ’94

Aram Sinnreich ’94 is the author of the new book The Piracy Crusade: How the Music Industry’s War on Sharing Destroys Markets and Erodes Civil Liberties (University of Massachusetts Press). An assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, he served as an expert witness on the 2010 court case Arista Records vs. Lime Group, which was settled out of court before he could present his 20,000-word report. The Piracy Crusade was built on the foundation of his unused research at the time.

Sinnreich argues that Hollywood, the recording industry, and the United States government are acting as crusaders who are waging a destructive war against digital technology innovators and so-called “pirates.” Attempting to shut down peer-to-peer sharing and unlicensed streaming of media, the industries have used excessive force against and attempted to dehumanize users in order to stop copyright infringement.

Sinnreich writes that the resulting laws and policies have only succeeded in hurting free speech, privacy, and open discourse while failing to curb the trend in pirating. The book begins by charting a social history of the music industry and examining its relationship with 20th-century technology. Challenging the dominant narrative of the changes undergone by the music industry, Sinnreich then looks at P2P, or peer-to-peer, file sharing in comparison to traditional music economics and recent trends in sales. He then exposes the “collateral damage” of the piracy crusade.

piracy crusade

New book by Aram Sinnreich ’94

Sinnreich is also the author of Mashed Up: Music, Technology and the Rise of Configurable Culture (University of Massachusetts Press) and has long been interested in music and intellectual property. He has published dozens of music recordings and performed with various musical ensembles.

During his time at Wesleyan, he studied with several music professors (Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard ‘76, Abraham Adzenyah, and Neely Bruce), worked at WEESU, and interned under Pete Ganbarg ’88 at SBK Records. After graduating Wesleyan he worked as an analyst for the New York-based Internet research firm Jupiter Communications.

“My clients were the major record labels and film studios, and my job was to keep them apprised of new technology developments and advise them about how best to take advantage of them,” Sinnreich says.

“When Napster was released in 1999, I fielded a survey that demonstrated P2P [peer-to-peer] users were actually buying more music than otherwise identical Internet users who hadn’t used the service. I thought my clients in the music industry would be delighted to hear this, but to my surprise they disputed my findings, and even issued a press release to discredit my report!

“That was the point at which I realized how complex, and often irrational, the entertainment industry’s relationship to intellectual property is.”

Sinnreich has also served as expert witness for cases such as MGM vs Grokster, the P2P suit that reached US Supreme Court in 2005. When he moved into the world of academia, he maintained his interest in the social and legal dimensions of music and technology.

As he wrote and researched The Piracy Crusade, Sinnreich published drafts of his work-in-progress on MediaCommons Press, an open scholarship platform that allowed him to receive comments and feedback from music industry executives, analysts, and attorneys as well as the general public. And, in the spirit of his research subject, the completed manuscript of his new book is available for free online under a Creative Commons license, as well as for sale on Amazon.

Hollister ’78 Writes Parental Guide on Teaching a Teen to Drive

Tim Hollister '78

Tim Hollister ’78

Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving (Chicago Review Press) by Tim Hollister ’78 is an informative and empowering guide to help parents understand the causes of teen crashes and head them off each time before their teens get behind the wheel.

Book by Tim Hollister '78

Book by Tim Hollister ’78

Most of the information available to parents of teen drivers acknowledges that driving is risky, and then advises parents that their obligation is to teach their teens how to operate a vehicle. However, missing from most resources are explanations of why teen driving is so dangerous and specific, proactive steps that parents can take day-by-day, each time a teen driver gets behind the wheel, to counteract the situations that most often lead to crashes. This authoritative book provides advice to parents, guardians, and other adults who supervise teen drivers about the critical decisions that must be made before a teen drives.

Hollister’s guide tackles several hot-button issues—such as texting and distracted driving; parenting attitudes (conscious and unconscious); and teen impairment and fatigue—and includes a combination of topics not found in other teen driving guides, such as how brain development affects driving, how teen driver laws work and why Driver’s Ed does not produce safe drivers, how to negotiate a teen driving agreement how and when to say “No,” and why it’s imperative for parents to evaluate their teen driver on every car trip before handing over the keys.

Tim Hollister’s 17-year- old son Reid died in a one-car crash on an interstate highway in central Connecticut in 2006. A year later, Hollister served on a task force charged with reexamining the state’s teen driver law. That task force led the state in 2008 to transform its law from one of the most lenient in the nation to one of the strictest. Hollister practices land use and environmental law and is the recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Public Service Award.

Author web site

From Reid’s Dad: A Blog for Parents of Teen Drivers

Sterner ’97 Speaks on NPR about Vanishing Downtown Hartford

As part of the Connecticut NPR affiliate WPKT’s program, Where We Live, Daniel Sterner ’97, author of a book about historic downtown Hartford, recently discussed historic buildings that have disappeared and what has taken their place. Program host John Dankosky, observed, “Every city changes over time. But Hartford’s downtown seems to be slowly disappearing.” Sterner points out that all cities are always in flux; older buildings are always being replaced by newer ones. He describes any typical city block, even the one on Trumbull Street from which the program was broadcast, as “layered:” Some buildings date back to the 1800s, some to the turn of the century, some to the 1920s, and some to more modern times.

Sterner’s book on this subject, Vanished Downtown Hartford, provides a tour of the downtown area that traces the development of the city from the early 1800s to present day and raises the issue facing cities today: “what should be demolished and what should be saved?” Practicality and beauty occasionally clash, especially when it comes to parking lots, which seem to be overtaking Hartford, a phenomenon noted by Sterner and others on the radio program. As Sterner points out, a city needs parking lots, but flat lots compromise the architectural beauty of the streetscape. In a July article, Sterner told the Hartford Courant, “Hartford is famous for having so much town down. It’s one thing if you replace one building with another, but when it becomes a parking lot, that’s another thing.”  Some of the changes that Sterner documents in his book are the replacement of the YMCA with a parking lot, Constitution Plaza replacing an entire neighborhood, and the Old State House finding new life as a museum.

Sterner, who was a history major at Wesleyan, encourages everyone to “reflect on what should be built in the future and which of today’s historic treasures should not be lost.”

Heller ’04 Writes First Biography of Architect Edmund Bacon

Gregory Heller '04

Gregory Heller ’04

Gregory Heller ’04 is the author of Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics, and the Building of Modern Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania Press), the first biography of the controversial architect and urban planner.

A book launch will be held on Thursday, May 16 at the Center for Architecture in Philadelphia (1218 Arch Street) at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Go to http://hellergreg.ticketleap.com/edbacon/ for more information.

In the mid-20th century, Edmund Bacon worked on shaping urban America as many Americans left cities to pursue life in suburbia. As director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Bacon forged new approaches to neighborhood development and elevated Philadelphia’s image to the level of great world cities. He oversaw the planning and implementation of dozens of redesigned urban space, including the restored colonial neighborhood of Society Hill, the new office development of Penn Center, and the transit-oriented shopping center of Market East.

Biography by Gregory Heller '04

Biography by Gregory Heller ’04

Heller traces the career of Bacon’s two-decade tenure as city planning director, which coincided with a transformational period in American planning history. He was a larger-than-life personality, and Heller argues his successes owed as much to his savvy negotiation of city politics and the pragmatic particulars of his vision.

In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Weekly Press, Heller revealed that he became interested in Bacon while completing an internship with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission while he was attending Wesleyan. Heller was able to meet with Bacon, who asked him to write his memoir. Heller took a year off from college to complete it and was then approached by a publisher to write a biography about Bacon. The author wrote his college thesis on Bacon and brought the architect to campus his senior year.

In his introduction, Heller writes: “We study history to understand the past but also to glean lessons for the present and the future. … Despite his shortcomings, Bacon’s ability to bridge the worlds of the visionary and active political actor was rare in 1949 and remains perhaps rarer today.”

Heller is a practitioner in the fields of economic development and urban planning. He is senior advisor at Econsult Solutions, Inc. in Philadelphia. His writing on city planning has appeared in Next American City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Behar ’77 Writes New Memoir

Ruth Behar '77 (Photo: Gabriel Frye-Behar)

Ruth Behar ’77 (Photo: Gabriel Frye-Behar)

Storyteller and cultural anthropologist Ruth Behar ’77 is the author of Traveling Heavy: A Memoir Between Journeys (Duke University Press), in which she recounts her life as an immigrant child and later, as an adult woman who loves to travel but is terrified of boarding a plane. Behar shares moving stories about her Yiddish-Sephardic-Cuban-American family, as well as the kind strangers she meets on her travels. The author refers to herself an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness and repeatedly returning to her homeland of Cuba. She asks the question why we leave home to find home.

Kirkus Reviews writes: “A heartfelt witness to the changing political and emotional landscape of the Cuban-American experience.”

Memoir by Ruth Behar '77

Memoir by Ruth Behar ’77

Behar is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is the author of many books, including An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba; The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart; and Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Behar also is a poet, a fiction writer, and a documentary filmmaker. She wrote, directed, and produced Adio Kerida (Goodbye Dear Love), a film that has been shown at film festivals around the world. She has received many prizes, including a MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Ruth Behar website

First Novel by Pye ’82 Is Set in China

Virginia Pye '82 (Photo by Terry Brown)

Virginia Pye ’82 (Photo by Terry Brown)

Virginia Pye ’82 has published her first novel, River of Dust (Unbridled Books), which begins on the windswept plains of northwestern China not long after the Boxer Rebellion. Mongol bandits kidnap the young son of an American missionary couple. As the Reverend sets out in search of the child, he quickly loses himself in the rugged, drought-stricken countryside populated by opium dens, nomadic warlords, and traveling circuses. Grace, his young wife, pregnant with their second child, takes to her sick bed in the mission compound, and has visions of her stolen child and lost husband. The foreign couple’s dedicated Chinese servants, Ahcho and Mai Lin, accompany and eventually lead them through dangerous territory to find one another again.

Novel by Virginia Pye '82

Novel by Virginia Pye ’82

This novel was inspired in part by journals of Pye’s grandfather, who was himself an early missionary in China. The author’s father was born and raised in China and became an eminent political scientist and sinologist.

Pye holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has taught writing at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. A three-term president of James River Writers, a literary nonprofit in Richmond, Virginia, she writes award-winning short stories that have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including The North American Review, Tampa Review and The Baltimore Review. She currently lives in Richmond.

For more information see the Virginia Pye website.

DiSciacca ’07 First Author on Antiproton Paper

Jack DiSciacca '07

Jack DiSciacca ’07

Jack DiSciacca ’07 is first author on a paper that appeared in the April issue of Physical Review Letters, a premier journal for physics. Now a Ph.D candidate at Harvard, DiSciacca earned his undergraduate degree with high honors; Foss Professor of Physics Tom Morgan was his advisor. The published paper, “One Particle Measurement of the Anti-Proton Magnetic Moment,” details DiSciacca’s research on the antiproton, which is an antimatter particle.

Morgan explains, “DiSciacca spent the last six months at CERN [the European Organization for Nuclear Research], at the same accelerator facility where physicists recently discovered the Higgs boson to measure the magnetic moment of the antiproton (how much spinning current this anti-matter particle possesses).”

DiSciacca’s work is significant because it offers experimental confirmation of a key theory in physics known as CPT – charge, parity, time invariance. His findings were cited for their importance in Physics Viewpoints, where Eric Hudson and David Salzberg from the University of California in Los Angeles wrote: “Specifically, Jack DiSciacca of Harvard University and his colleagues present the most precise measurement to date of the antiproton magnetic moment … As reported in Physical Review Letters, the results match data on the proton, thus extending CPT’s shatterproof status for the time being.”

Morgan also notes that DiSciacca recently visited his class to give a presentation on his work, which DiSciacca says was “really a discussion, with lots of questions and more of a dialog than a typical presentation.” He was pleased with the engaged quality of the students’ remarks and describes Wesleyan as “a spectacular place to do physics. You won’t find more committed teachers anywhere,” with an atmosphere that is relaxed and friendly, as well as highly academic. The professors, he says, are truly accessible.

As for his current work, DiSciacca says, “The process of making the antiproton measurement was quite interesting and also demanding. We had about six months to move almost everything we used at Harvard to Switzerland, install the experiment and make the measurement using a single antiproton. The goal was to make a measurement before the December 2012 start of an extended upgrade phase at CERN, where there would be no antiprotons for another year and a half. One interesting part of this process is the story of moving the experiment to Switzerland. We went from having an experiment that fits in a room at Harvard, to working in a Home Depot-sized building with many other experiments in close proximity.”

“Our experiment is rather tall, about my height, and it’s quite delicate. So, to secure it safely for the plane ride over, we found that it would exceed the height limit of planes leaving Boston. As a result, we had it trucked to JFK, flown to Paris on a larger plane, and then trucked from Paris to CERN. The fact that it arrived in one piece, without any broken components, continues to amaze me.”

See related links:

http://prl.aps.org/toc/PRL/v110/i13

http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/Physics.6.36

 

Psychological Science Headlines Race-Bias Paper by Bar-David ’09

Eyal Bar-David '09

Eyal Bar-David ’09

Eyal Bar-David ’09, Wesleyan psychology major and New York University research assistant in the department of psychology’s Phelps Lab, co-authored a paper asking whether “racial bias affects the way the brain represents information about social groups,” published in the journal Psychological Science.

With co-authors Tobias Brosch from the department of psychology at the University of Geneva and Elizabeth Phelps, director of the Phelps Lab at New York University, Bar-David noted in the abstract that their  “findings suggest that stronger implicit pro-White bias decreases the similarity of neural representations of Black and White faces.” The paper headlined the “This Week in Psychological Science” sent out via e-mail to subscribers on the week of Jan. 15, 2013 and appears on the Pscyhological Science website.

As an undergradute, Bar-David was one of six authors of a paper on “Nonverbal Number Knowledge in Preschool-Age Children,” published in Mind Matters, The Wesleyan Journal of Psychology and in 2009 he was one of the recipients of the Thorndike Award for excellence in psychology

Learn more about Bar-David in this WesConnect piece,