Tag Archive for alumni publications

Sinnreich ’94 Investigates Consequences of Music Piracy Crusade


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.”

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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,


Rotella ’86 Publishes New Essay Collection

Carlo Rotella ’86 (Photo by Lee Pellegrini/B.C. Chronicle)

In his new nonfiction collection Playing in Time: Essays, Profiles, and Other True Stories  (University of Chicago Press), acclaimed journalist Carlo Rotella ’86 explores a variety of characters and settings, His writing has been praised for going beneath the surface of the story as he sympathetically dwells in the lives of the people and places he encounters.

The two dozen essays in this volume deal with subjects and obsessions that have characterized his previous writing: boxing, music, writers, and cities. “Playing in time” refers to how people make beauty and meaning while working within the constraints and limits forced on them by life.

Book by Carlo Rotella ’86

Besides his compelling writing on boxing, Rotella shares his engaging and insightful reportage on crime and science fiction writers, movie production, a megachurch, urban spaces, and more. Some of the essays appear in print for the first time.

Rotella is the author of Good with Their Hands: Boxers, Bluesmen, and Other Characters from the Rust Belt; October Cities: The Redevelopment of Urban Literature; and Cut Time: An Education at the Fights, the last also published by the University of Chicago Press. He writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and the Boston Globe, and he is a commentator for WGBH FM in Boston.

A professor of English at Boston College, Rotella is director of the American Studies Program and director of the Lowell Humanities Series.

Dickson ’61 Wins Award from Chicago Baseball Museum for Book

Paul Dickson ’61

Paul Dickson ’61

Paul Dickson ’61 is the winner of the fifth annual Jerome Holtzman Award for his 2012 book, Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick.

The Holtzman Award, established in 2008, is presented by the Chicago Baseball Museum to the person who “reflects the values and spirit of its Hall of Fame namesake. The honoree is selected by what is deemed to be the most significant contribution to the promotion of Chicago baseball and the preservation of its history and namesake.”

The book, collecting information and accounts from primary sources and over one hundred interviews, is an in-depth portrait of a baseball innovator, two-time White Sox owner and advocate of racial equality. As owner of the Cleveland Indians, Veeck in 1947 signed Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League.

Dickson is most recently the author of Words from the White House: Words and Phrases Coined or Popularized by America’s Presidents, the first compilation of new words and lexical curiosities originating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With definitions, etymology, and brief essays, each entry provides a glance at the history of the United States through the language used and invented in the past 200 years.

For more on Paul Dickson’s book on Bill Veeck see this past Wesleyan Connection story.

Kalb ’81 Receives 2 Awards for Book on Marathon Theater Works

Jonathan Kalb ’81

Jonathan Kalb ’81 is the recipient of two national awards for his recent book, Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater, published by The University of Michigan Press. Kalb, professor of theater at Hunter College and doctoral faculty member at The City University of New York, won the George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism and the Theatre Library Association’s George Freedley Memorial Award.

Great Lengths takes a close look at large-scale theater productions, often running more than five hours in length, which present special challenges to the artists and audiences. Recreating the experience of seeing the works, which include Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Nicholas Nickleby, the book is aimed at general readers as well as theater specialists.

Book by Jonathan Kalb ’81

The Nathan Award is awarded annually by a jury of the English Department heads of Cornell, Princeton and Yale Universities, given for an outstanding work of criticism dealing with current or past dramatic productions. Kalb shares the 2011–12 award with Puppy: An Essay on Uncanny Life by Kenneth Gross. Kalb previously won the Nathan Award in 1990–91 for his first book, Beckett in Performance, as well as articles and reviews he published in The Village Voice.

The Freedley Award was established in 1968 to honor a book of exceptional scholarship that examines some aspect of live theatre or performance.

Book by Goldberg ’99 Examines Issues of Gay Parenthood

Abbie Goldberg ’99

Abbie Goldberg ’99 is the author of the new book Gay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood , published by New York University Press, which collects stories and empirical data from interviews with 70 gay men, taking a close look at societal and political issues in gay parenthood.

Introducing the book with a vignette of two new adoptive fathers, Carter and Patrick, Goldberg dives into a discussion of the mazes of adoption agencies, couples’ decisions to openly present themselves as gay, the social implications of parenthood, and the changes in career commitment.

“Exploration of the experiences of gay adoptive fathers,” Goldberg writes, “has the capacity to stretch and enrich our national understanding of the sexuality, gender, and race contours of ‘family.’”

The place of gay parenthood in society is now becoming more recognized, she says, with popular television and movies positively depicting same-sex couples and their adopted children.

Book by Abbie Goldberg ’99

From her interviews, Goldberg finds that gay men who decide to adopt face societal scrutiny, stereotyped as being less effective caretakers than women. With recent political progress in the realm of gay civil rights, as well the overall increase in gay-parent families, more and more couples have realized their own ability to become good parents.

Parenthood for gay men is very deliberate and most often informed by the stability of the couple’s relationship as well as their financial and career stability. The process of adoption, expensive to begin with, provides additional stresses and challenges as gay couples attempt to work around state laws and adoption agency restrictions.

While heteronormativity still governs the institutions and discussions of the “average American family,” Goldberg argues that gay couples are now more interested in raising children than they were just 20 years ago. By focusing specifically on gay male couples, Goldberg examines how these men defy traditional ideas of masculinity and father roles to create new, more diverse identities for both themselves and their family.

Goldberg is associate professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., as well as a senior research fellow at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. She previously published the book Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle (Contemporary Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychology) with the American Psychological Association.