Tag Archive for Curran

Curran on Making Sense of His Father’s Death With Baudelaire

Andy Curran

Andy Curran

Andrew Curran, professor of French, William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities, wrote a moving piece in The New York Times about the life-changing experience of his father’s sudden death.

Among other things, Curran describes the experience of seeing his father’s body for the last time and saying goodbye. He also recounts the trip to his parents’ house in North Carolina as a “chronology-less blur of grief and purifying laughter.”

He writes:

I still dream quite often about my father. He generally makes an appearance toward 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes waving to me from his car (he loved taking extraordinarily long car trips) or, on other occasions, sitting just out of listening range at a crowded dinner party.

A psychologist might say these silent visits (we never speak in the dreams) reflect the imperious muteness of the deceased.

But I am mostly frustrated by the cruel joke that my mind continues to play on itself: In each of these dreams, I invariably have a family-related story on the tip of my tongue that I am unable to convey. One time I wanted to tell him about my daughter’s latest crew race, another time about something I had finally managed to publish.

This deep-seated need to crow to one’s parents is something that I had not really understood before the bailiff came slinking into my life. Mothers and fathers are irreplaceable sources of affection, to be sure, but they are also the most important audiences for our victories, be they great or small.

NEH Supports Research, Writing Projects by Tucker, Curran

#THISISWHY
Two Wesleyan faculty received NEH Public Scholarships to encourage new research and support their upcoming publications. Only 36 writers in the country received the award.

The Public Scholar program, a major new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience. On July 29, the NEH awarded a total of $1.7 million to 36 writers including Wesleyan’s Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, and Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and professor of French.

Tucker received a grant worth $50,400 to support her book titled Caught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion.

5 Faculty Receive Endowed Professorships

In recognition of their career achievements, five faculty members are being appointed to endowed professorships, effective July 1:

Stephen Angle, professor of philosophy and East Asian studies, is receiving the Mansfield Freeman Professorship in East Asian Studies, established in 1986.

Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English, is receiving the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Chair. The Bennet Chair, endowed in 2007, is awarded for a five-year term to a newly tenured associate professor exhibiting exceptional achievement and evidence of future promise.

Andrew Curran, professor of French and outgoing Dean of Arts and Humanities, is receiving the William Armstrong Professorship of the Humanities, established in 1921.

Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy, environmental studies, and feminist, gender and sexuality studies, is receiving the William Griffin Professorship of Philosophy, established in 1885.

Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and outgoing Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and director of technology initiatives, is receiving the Fisk Professorship of Natural Science, established in 1839.

Experts Discuss Césaire at Americas Forum

“The Centenary of Aimé Césaire 1913-2008: Poet, Pragmatist, a Voice for the Voiceless” was the theme of the 2013 Americas Forum held April 5-6 in Russell House. The Americas Forum offered an intellectual consideration of Césaire’s contributions to our understanding of the Americas, Marxism, imperialism, independence, race and the role of art.

“The Centenary of Aimé Césaire 1913-2008: Poet, Pragmatist, a Voice for the Voiceless” was the theme of the 2013 Americas Forum held April 5-6 in Russell House. The Americas Forum offered an intellectual consideration of Césaire’s contributions to our understanding of the Americas, Marxism, imperialism, independence, race and the role of art.

Curran’s Op-Ed on Novelist Denis Diderot Published in NYT

The New York Times on Jan. 25 published an op-ed by Andrew Curran, dean of the arts and humanities and professor of romance languages and literature, on the legacy of Enlightenment era philosopher and novelist Denis Diderot. Curran writes of Diderot: “His message was of intellectual emancipation from received authorities — be they religious, political or societal — and always in the interest of the common good. More so than the deists Voltaire and Rousseau, Diderot embodied the most progressive wing of Enlightenment thought, a position that stemmed from his belief that skepticism in all matters was ‘the first step toward truth.’ He was, in fact, the precise type of secular Enlightenment thinker that some members of the Texas State Board of Education have attempted to write out of their high school curriculum.”

Curran Recipient of Clifford Prize for 18th-Century Research

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran, professor of romance languages and literatures, is the co-winner of the 2010-11 James L. Clifford Prize.  The prize is awarded annually by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to the author of the best article regarding any aspect of eighteenth-century culture.

Receiving the award is Curran’s Rethinking Race History: The Role of the Albino in French Enlightenment Sciences.

The Clifford Fund was originally established to support an annual prize in honor of James L. Clifford. Clifford founded The Johnsonian News Letter in 1940, was Secretary to the English Institute, twice a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and third President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. During his long and energetic life, he produced numerous books, articles, bibliographies, essays, edited collections, editions and, of course, the much beloved, imitated, and quoted Johnsonian News Letter. Accordingly, the Clifford Prize is awarded to the author of the best article on an eighteenth-century subject, interesting to any eighteenth-century specialist, regardless of discipline.

The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is a non-profit, educational group founded to promote the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century.  It sponsors conferences, awards, fellowships and prizes, and publishes Eighteenth-Century Studies and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture.

Curran Appointed Dean of Arts and Humanities


Andrew Curran


Andrew Curran,  professor of romance languages and literatures, has been appointed to serve as the next Dean of Arts and Humanities. It is a three-year appointment which begins in July.

Since coming to Wesleyan in 1998, Curran’s contribution has been substantial: he is currently vice-chair of Advisory and has been serving on Advisory since fall 2008. He has twice served as head of the French section of his department, and has served on many committees including international studies, the CHUM advisory board, the CSPL advisory board, the EPC task force on the capabilities, faculty-student affairs, and the library committee. He has also twice served as resident director of the Vassar-Wesleyan program in Paris. In addition, Curran is organizing this spring’s Shasha Seminar on Human Concerns.

Curran’s scholarly interests focus on the early-modern life sciences. He is the editor of Faces of Monstrosity in Eighteenth-Century Thought (Eighteenth-Century Life, 1997) and author of Sublime Disorder (Voltaire Foundation: University of Oxford, 2001) and The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). A fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, Curran has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He has served on the editorial board of Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture and Diderot Studies, and on the executive board of the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Curran will be following Kirsha Winston, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, professor of environmental studies, who is concluding a four-year term in the position.

Curran Elected Fellow by N.Y. Academy of Medicine

In July 2010, the board of the New York Academy of Medicine elected Andrew Curran, professor of French, Department of Romance Languages, a Fellow of the Academy in the history of medicine. Curran had previously received the Paul Klemperer fellowship in the history of medicine at the Academy and had given a lecture there on “natural history and slavery.” While at the Academy, Curran finished a book on 18th-century life sciences, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Era of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming 2011).

Several Faculty Receive Promotions, Tenure

Wesleyan has announced the following promotions of faculty, effective July 1, 2010:

Promotion with Tenure

During the academic year, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees maintains an ongoing process of tenure case consideration. During its most recent review, the Board awarded tenure to one faculty member effective July 1, 2010.

Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2004. Previously he was postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona’s Center for Insect Science, in Tucson.

Singer’s research examines the evolutionary ecology of tri-trophic interactions between plants, herbivores and carnivores. In considering

Curran Awarded Summer Fellowship for Research

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran, associate professor of French, has been awarded the 2009-2010 Paul Klemperer Fellowship at the New York Academy of Medicine. This fellowship is awarded to support summer research in history and the humanities as they relate to medicine, the biomedical sciences and health.

Curran is currently completing a book titled The Anatomy of Blackness, an interdisciplinary study related to the status of the African in the Enlightenment-era life sciences.