Tag Archive for College of Letters
by Lauren Rubenstein •
The certificate, approved by the faculty on April 25, was proposed by steering committee members Peter Gottschalk, professor of religion, director of the Office of Faculty Career Development; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of French studies, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, associate professor of letters; and Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies.
“Students in the certificate program will gain an appreciation for the diversity among Muslims geographically, culturally, historically, and religiously,” Leservot said. “They will become accomplished in multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of Muslim communities and their expressions and productions. In an American setting in which stereotypes reduce the more than 1 billion Muslims around the globe to singular caricatures, this represents no small accomplishment.”
The Muslim Studies Certificate will mirror an existing certificate in Jewish and Israeli Studies. Students must complete six designated courses in a range of areas, including contemporary society and practice; literary, artistic and musical studies; and historical inquiry. Courses involving Muslim studies already offered by more than a dozen faculty members will be included.
“This new certificate will highlight Wesleyan’s remarkable collection of faculty, courses, and resources for students interested in studying the lives of Muslims around the globe,” Gottschalk said. “Our faculty teach and conduct research in fields as diverse as Arabic, art history, College of Letters, English, French, government, history, music, religion, and Spanish. As Muslims become increasingly prominent in the United States, the number of faculty and students alike interested in Muslim studies has expanded.”
“The certificate aims to maximize students’ education in Muslim traditions by providing a structured program to guide their studies,” he added. “This will require students to diversify their exposure across disciplines and divisions, period and place.”
At a time when American Muslims are becoming increasingly marginalized, the certificate “will also help our non-Muslim students better understand a set of groups and traditions increasingly the target of disinformation and prejudice,” Matesan said. “Meanwhile, it would signal to our Muslim students and potential applicants that Wesleyan recognizes the diversity and significance of Muslim traditions.”
by Olivia Drake •
Last fall, the College of Letters (COL) welcomed Gabrielle Ponce-Hegenauer to the department as an assistant professor of letters. Ponce-Hegenauer is an expert on the biography and works of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), author of Don Quixote.
She’s also interested in 16th-century translation theory and poetics; pre-Cartesian Renaissance philosophy; cultural and intellectual history in the Spanish Golden Age; early modern metaphysics; medicine and philosophy in 16th-century Spain; the history of the book and manuscript culture; Spanish theater; Renaissance and Baroque Spanish poetry; Spanish and Italian literary exchanges; the 19th-century imagination of the Golden Age; and 19th-century Spanish novelist Benito Pérez Galdós.
“I like locating the particularities of big ideas in specific texts,” she said. “I’m constantly moving between a microcosmic and macrocosmic perspective. Nuance, variation, paradox and metaphor: these are key.”
Ponce-Hegenauer, who is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French, earned a BA in rhetoric at the University of Illinois Urbana, as well as both an MFA in poetry and creative writing and a PhD in German and romance languages and literatures from The Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation, published in April 2016, was titled Cervantes, Poet: Lyric Subjectivity as Practice in the Rise of the Novel in 16th-Century Spain.
by Laurie Kenney •
In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Siri Carr ’15, who double majored in the College of Letters and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. Carr’s thesis, Little Do We Know: Conceptualizing the “Little” in Children’s Literature, explores the concept of the “little” in children’s literature. The thesis was submitted for honors in the College of Letters.
by Lauren Rubenstein •
On May 2, the Wesleyan Symposium on Risk brought together faculty and students for an interdisciplinary discussion of risk. The event was sponsored by American Studies, the Center for the Humanities, the College of Letters, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, the Science in Society Program, and the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies support funds. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)
by Lauren Rubenstein •
Kari Weil, the University Professor of Letters, was a guest on WNPR’s “The Faith Middleton Show” to discuss how our evolving understanding of animals should affect how we treat them personally and professionally.
They began by discussing the announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey would stop using elephants in their circus performances within three years.
“I think there is a fine line between use and abuse,” said Weil.”I don’t think all use is abuse. I think animals depend on us, we depend on them. We can use certain animals for certain things, but when we’re down to exploitive techniques like bull hooks and fear tactics, I think we’ve gone the wrong way.”
Middleton asked about the root of Weil’s interest in animal studies.
Oddly, she said, it started with an interest in the relationship between women and horses in 19th century France. Women had to get special dispensation to cross-dress so they could straddle horses, Weil explained.
“That interest slowly took me to other questions of training techniques, of how horses were used, of how they were regarded. Of why, when horses were the most popular animal, they were also legalized for human consumption,” she said.
Hear the complete interview here. Weil also is director of the College of Letters.
by Olivia Drake •
Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters, delivered a keynote address on “Animal Studies: The Ends of Empathy and Beginnings of Reading” at a “Why do Animal Studies?” conference April 3-4 at the University of Chicago.
During the conference, scholars discussed “What is it that draws a multiplicity of voices into this conversation, and how can they productively engage with one another? Why has this field of inquiry gained such traction in recent decades? How is Animal Studies taking shape as a field that overlaps multiple discourses and disciplines, and what opportunities or difficulties arise as a result? How do different methodologies clarify or substantiate one another, fill knowledge gaps, and illuminate unknown aspects of individual areas of interest?”
Weil has published widely on literary representations of gender, feminist theory, and, more recently, on theories and representations of animal otherness. She recently co-edited a special issue of Hypatia titled, Animal Others (2012) and she is the author of Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now (2012) and Androgyny and the Denial of Difference (1992). Her current project is tentatively titled, ‘The Most Beautiful Conquest of Man’ ?: Horses and Other Animal Pursuits in 19-Century France.
by Lauren Rubenstein •
In the wake of a recent scandal in which horse meat was discovered in meat products labeled as beef in the United Kingdom, University Professor of Letters Kari Weil wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe about a debate in 19th century France over the morality of eating horse meat. Hippophagy, or the eating of horse meat, was not legalized until the late 19th century in France, and only after a “public campaign to override objections very like the ones Americans have today.”
“…the fact that it took so much persuasion to convince the French to consider eating horse—in a dispute that exposed passionate beliefs about public health, animal rights, and social welfare—suggests why we are once again facing a public scandal over hippophagy. At heart, it is an unsettled cultural crisis about which animals we accept as moral to eat,” wrote Weil.
Weil is chair of the College of Letters.
by Olivia Drake •
An article by Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, professor of history, professor of letters, is featured in the 50th anniversary issue of Perspectives on History, the monthly publication of the American Historical Association. The article, titled “Academic Journals in the Digital Era” is part of a forum on “The Future of the Discipline” edited by Lynn Hunt. View the full list of contributors online.
by Olivia Drake •
Khachig Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, was appointed by the Social Science Research Council of the U.S. to teach a special seminar jointly with a French professor appointed by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. They taught the topics of “Transnationalism” and “circulation migratoire” to 12 Ph.D candidates–six French and six American–first at the Université de Poitiers, France, from June 11-15, 2012, then in Philadelphia, from Sept. 12-16, 2012.
Tölölyan also was the keynote speaker and gave a lecture titled “Claiming diasporas, reclaiming diaspora studies,” at the conference on “Transnationalism and Diaspora,” Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Stockholm University, on Oct. 23.
In addition, Tölölyan will be one of two American scholars participating in a conference of diaspora scholars taking place at Oxford, U.K. on Nov. 17-19.
by Bill Holder •
The former Squash Courts Building located at 41 Wyllys Ave. on Wesleyan’s historic College Row has opened as the renovated home for Art History, the College of Letters and the Career Center.
Notably, several College of Letters and Art History alumni have provided gifts for the project to honor faculty members from their undergraduate days.
David Resnick ’81, P’13, joined by his wife Cathy Klema P’13, contributed the lead gift to name the Art History Wing in honor of John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and Art History.
Resnick, now chairman of global financing advisory for the investment baking firm Rothschild Inc., was a European history major at Wesleyan, who earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago. It was his Introduction to Art History course with Paoletti, he says “that really opened my eyes to art from a historical and sociological perspective.”
He recalls Paoletti as “passionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable,” and took further courses with him—20th Century Art History and Early Italian Renaissance Art. Later, he served as Paoletti’s teaching assistant for Introduction to Art History.
“The exposure to art and the ways to think about art
by David Low •
F.D. Reeve, professor of letters, emeritus, is the author of Nathaniel Purple, published by Voyage in 2012.
A feud, a fire, an affair. Cows in the pasture, men at the lunch counter, violets in an old cream bottle. This is Vermont—passionate, pastoral, pungent, which forms a rich, vivid canvas for an intimate portrayal of village life. But human nature is a bit out of joint.
Years of living on the “bony” land has led the village people to jealousies and forbidden couplings. Reeve draws us into his world through the sharp eyes of Nathaniel Purple, who, as the town’s librarian, is the link to the world of books and rational thinking. He is also an everyman, a native Vermonter, able to embrace the town’s practical justice. The novel celebrates the strength and timelessness of the natural world above the daily struggle and quotidian quarrels of everyday existence. People live out their destinies while the seasons turn.