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Steve ScarpaJune 13, 20227min
It was sitting in the peace of synagogue with his wife where Stephen Angle began to contemplate his personal relationship to Confucianism. Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies and professor of philosophy, had spent his career studying the ancient philosophy, which emphasizes personal ethics and morality. He’d written multiple academic books on the subject. The roots of his interest went all the way back to high school with a fascinating class on non-Western cultures. Still, there had always been one small remove between the ideas and his own life. “I didn’t understand the Hebrew being chanted. Half of…

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Editorial StaffMay 9, 20226min
Wesleyan University will recognize three outstanding faculty members across the fields of biology, Spanish, and history at the 190th Commencement ceremony with the awarding of the Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching. Frederick M. Cohan, professor of biology; María Ospina, associate professor of Spanish; and Victoria Smolkin, associate professor of history, were selected by their peers after receiving strong recommendations from alumni of the last 10 graduating classes, as well as current juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Underscoring Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, these annual prizes are made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 18, 20224min
Eleven years ago, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, resulting in radioactive material spewing into the air, ground, and ocean. About 16,000 residents were killed from the explosions, and another 165,000 were forced to evacuate. "I should not be here," Eiko Otake shares in her most recent film, A Body in Fukushima (2021). But she keeps returning—for a total of five visits to the nuclear disaster site. Otake, visiting dance artist-in-residence, began her solo work there in January 2014. Her only audience is William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, who…

Rachel Wachman '24March 3, 20223min
Associate professor of Science in Society Anthony Ryan Hatch specializes in health systems, medical technology, and social inequalities. His recent paper, titled “The data will not save us: Afropessimism and racial antimatter in the COVID-19 pandemic,” published in Big Data and Society on Feb. 23, combines his areas of expertise in an analysis of disparities in racial health exacerbated by the pandemic. The paper begins with a staggering statistic: “According to the CDC Covid Data Tracker, 89,713 Black people have died from complications due to COVID-19, about 13.7% of total deaths (as of 2/11/22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,…

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Olivia DrakeFebruary 10, 20229min
Wesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below: In The Conversation, Robyn Autry, associate professor of sociology, responds to Whoopi Goldberg's recent controversial comments about the Holocaust. "As someone who writes and teaches about racial identity," Autry writes, "I was struck by the firmness of Goldberg’s initial claim, her clumsy retraction and apologies, and the heated public reactions."  (Feb. 7) Autry also speaks to The New York Times about the popularity of Vaseline on social…

Rachel Wachman '24February 3, 20226min
  NASA's new infrared telescope, which launched on Dec. 25, 2021, will help researchers like Wesleyan's Seth Redfield explore the universe in ways like never before. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is accessible to the worldwide scientific community, offers scientists the ability to explore the solar system, galactic evolution, the early universe, and the formation of stars and planets like never before. The telescope will also observe planets orbiting other stars, known as exoplanets. Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield, a member of the JWST's Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program (ERS), will work with scholars from around…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 28, 20225min
A new Wesleyan University project funded by a three-year, $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will investigate Connecticut’s racial, industrial, and political history from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—the nation’s largest funder of the arts, culture and humanities—awarded more than $16.1 million to 12 liberal arts colleges from across the nation, including Wesleyan, as part of its Humanities for All Times initiative. Humanities for All Times was created to support newly developed curricula that both instruct students in methods of humanities practice and demonstrate those methods’ relevance to broader social justice pursuits. Wesleyan’s “Carceral Connecticut…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 19, 20218min
While it's considered acceptable, or even expected, for women to cover fine lines and wrinkles with makeup, creams, injectables, or undergo cosmetic procedures like facelifts as they age, the idea of altering skin tone—especially for Black and brown people who are the most likely to face colorism—is a newer, and oddly popular, skincare craze. "For [some] Black people it’s not about whether our skin is dewy, glowing, or glassy, or whether we're trying to conceal acne scars or minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It’s about whether we're trying to appear closer to white," said Robyn Autry, associate…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 12, 202115min
Wesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below: Glenn Ligon '82, Hon. '12 is prominently featured in New York Times Magazine's 2021 "Greats" issue, which celebrates those who have helped make and change the culture. For over 30 years, Ligon has been making work that speaks to American history—ambiguous, open-ended, existentially observant. "Ligon’s art is often both an indictment and a kind of reframing of American history. He has worked across a wide range of…

Rachel Wachman '24November 1, 20211min
Reinhold Blumel, Charlotte Augusta Ayres Professor of Physics, recently co-authored a paper in Nature called “Power-optimal, stabilized entangling gate between trapped-ion qubits.” Yunseong Nam, one of the other co-authors, worked with Blumel as a graduate student. Blumel’s contributions to this paper stem from his connections to IonQ, a technology company for quantum computing. Nam is now the company’s chief theorist.

Olivia DrakeNovember 1, 20211min
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Helen Poulos recently co-authored three new papers: “Wildfire and topography drive woody plant diversity in a Sky Island mountain range in the Southwest USA,” published in Ecology and Evolution on Oct. 5. “Choked out: Battling invasive giant cane along the Rio Grande/ Bravo Borderlands,” published in River Research and Applications on Sept. 20. And “Mixed-severity wildfire as a driver of vegetation change in an Arizona Madrean Sky Island System, USA,” written alongside Michael Freiburger ’21 and published in Fire on Oct. 20. Poulos’s research focuses on plant distribution patterns as a result of the…

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Olivia DrakeOctober 22, 20213min
For her efforts furthering the status of women in the economics profession through example, achievements, and mentoring, the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) is honoring Joyce Jacobsen with the 2021 Carolyn Shaw Bell Award. Jacobsen, who retired from Wesleyan in 2019, is the Andrews Professor of Economics, Emerita. She's the current president—and the first woman to serve as president—of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. "When I think of Joyce’s presence and impact at Wesleyan, the words 'energetic,' 'disciplined,' 'innovative,' and 'supportive' come immediately to mind," said Gil Skillman, professor and chair…