Liza McAlister, associate professor of religion, African American studies and American studies, joined an invited conference on “Global Oprah: Celebrity as Transnational Icon” Feb. 25-26 at Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. The academic conference aimed to theorize neoliberalism, celebrity and humanitarianism, using Oprah Winfrey as a focusing lens.
The conference consisted of six panel discussions, which examined the way celebrities define America, and the role they play in international human rights and politics.
McAlister presented a paper on Wyclef Jean, a Haitian-born Hip-Hop superstar. She discussed his career trajectory beginning with the Fugees, to his founding a humanitarian foundation, serving as a roaming celebrity ambassador to the UN, to his bid to run for President of Haiti. She examined the ways his celebrity status has translated into political capital in the different yet interconnected contexts of the U.S. and Haiti under the current conditions of neoliberalism.
Wesleyan President Michael Roth, standing, makes a toast during the Celebration of Faculty Authors in the Arts and Humanities Feb. 4 in Olin Library’s Smith Reading Room. The event allowed faculty to honor their fellow authors. More than 35 Arts and Humanities faculty have published books since 2008.
Joe Siry, professor of art history, holds the manuscript to his book, “Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture,” which is forthcoming by the University of Chicago Press in 2012. “The book is a history of Wright's work as an architect of buildings for religion, including his churches and his only synagogue, for Beth Sholom Congregation, in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, designed and built from 1953 to 1959, when Wright died,” Siry explains.
Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies, edited the book, Arnheim for Film and Media Studies, published by Taylor & Francis, 2010.
Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007) was a pioneering figure in film studies, best known for his landmark book on silent cinema Film as Art. He ultimately became more famous as a scholar in the fields of art and art history, largely abandoning his theoretical work on cinema. However, his later aesthetic theories on form, perception and emotion should play an important role in contemporary film and media studies.
In this new volume, edited by Higgins, an international group of leading scholars revisits Arnheim’s legacy for film and media studies. In 14 essays, the contributors bring Arnheim’s later work on the visual arts to bear on film and media, while also reassessing the implications of his film theory to help refine our grasp of Film as Art and related texts. The contributors discuss a broad range topics including Arnheim’s film writings in relation to modernism, his antipathy to sound as well as color in film, the formation of his early ideas on film against the social and political backdrop of the day, the wider uses of his methodology, and the implications of his work for digital media.
Mark Slobin, professor of music, is the author of Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction, published by Oxford University Press, 2010.
According to the publisher, “This is the first compact introduction to folk music that offers a truly global perspective. Slobin offers an extraordinarily generous portrait of folk music, one that embraces a Russian wedding near the Arctic Circle, a group song in a small rainforest village in Brazil, and an Uzbek dance tune in Afghanistan.
He looks in detail at three poignant songs from three widely separated regions–northern Afghanistan, Jewish Eastern Europe, and the Anglo-American world–with musical notation and lyrics included. And he also describes the efforts of scholars who fanned out across the globe, to find and document this ever-changing music.”
The biography of Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, is published by the Marquis editors’ Who’s Who in America 2011.
The 2011 edition contains more than 96,000 biographies of the nation’s most noteworthy people in a single, comprehensive resource. The book is a biographical reference tool for networking, prospecting, fact-checking, and numerous other research purposes.
During the Fall 2010 semester, Ethan Kleinberg delivered two lectures in France.
Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters is spending the year as director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Paris Program and an invited scholar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. During the Fall 2010 semester, Kleinberg delivered two lectures based on his current book project, The Myth of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas is a French Jewish philosopher who turned to the use of Jewish
Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, is the author of The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics, published by Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010; and CosmopolitanPower in International Relations: A Synthesis of Realism, Neoliberalism, and Constructivism, published by Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, is the author of ““The Science of Ethics: Deception, The Resilient Self, And the APA Code of Ethics, 1966-1973,” published in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.
The paper examines the process by which the American Psychological Association determined that deception could be used as an acceptable research method.
Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies, has received a $193,809 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a project called “Imaging Lignin Degradation.” Taylor will collaborate with colleagues at Penn State University and the University of Tennessee.
Taylor hopes to use fluorescence imaging and isotope trace experiments to develop probes for finding organisms that can break down lignin. She plans to test complex biological samples.
“Think going to the forest and bringing home a bucket of dirt containing small insects and lots of microorganisms and then figuring out which ones can break down lignin. This is related to my own work, where I hope to help turn lignin into a viable carbon source for biofuel production,” Taylor explains.