Tag Archive for international

Angle Authors Book on Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy

Book by Stephen Angle.

Book by Stephen Angle.

Stephen Angle is the author of Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy, published by Polity in 2012. Angle is professor of philosophy, professor of East Asian studies, and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Confucian political philosophy has recently emerged as a vibrant area of thought both in China and around the globe. This book provides an accessible introduction to the main perspectives and topics being debated today, and shows why Progressive Confucianism is a particularly promising approach. Students of political theory or contemporary politics will learn that far from being confined to a museum, contemporary Confucianism is both responding to current challenges and offering insights from which we can all learn.

The Progressive Confucianism defended here takes key ideas of the 20th-century Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909–1995) as its point of departure for exploring issues like political authority and legitimacy, the rule of law, human rights, civility, and social justice. The result is anti-authoritarian without abandoning the ideas of virtue and harmony; it preserves the key values Confucians find in ritual and hierarchy without giving in to oppression or domination. A central goal of the book is to present Progressive Confucianism in such a way as to make its insights manifest to non-Confucians, be they philosophers or simply citizens interested in the potential contributions of Chinese thinking to our emerging, shared world.

Battle for the Future: Smolkin-Rothrock on the Spiritual Life of Soviet Atheism

(Story contributed by Jim H. Smith)

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

Its official name was the Century 21 Exhibition, but it was better known as the Seattle World Fair, and it seemed to be an unambiguous statement about America’s aspirations for its future. Boasting a futuristic monorail and an iconic Space Needle whose elevators were piloted by female attendants wearing excessive blue eye shadow and costumes out of a Hollywood sci-fi feature, it came to hold totemic significance for a nation whose philosophical differences with the Soviet Union were being sorted out against the majestic backdrop of outer space.

One of the first visitors to the 1962 fair was Soviet cosmonaut German Titov, the second Soviet man in space after Yuri Gagarin, the youngest spaceman (a record that stands to this day), and the first to orbit the Earth repeatedly. In his homeland Titov was nothing less than a demi-God.

During a news conference in Seattle, Titov was asked whether his adventures in the cosmos had altered his worldview. “Up to our first orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin no God helped build our rocket,” said the cosmonaut, who perceived the subtext of the question. “The rocket was made by our people. I don’t believe in God. I believe in man, his strength, his possibilities and his reason.”

It was, says Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, a statement that bespoke the essence of the Soviet Union’s long, strange struggle to supplant traditional religions throughout the empire with “scientific atheism.” If it provoked an outcry across America, well, that was Titov’s intent.

During the 1960s, as Smolkin-Rothrock notes, Titov and his fellow cosmonauts “were the public face of Communism on the world stage, and their triumphs and charisma put forward a confident image of a Communist state that could solve all problems and answer all questions, material and spiritual.”

On Oct. 18, Smolkin-Rothrock delivered this year’s prestigious Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Her address, which began with the Titov story, offered an analysis of Communism’s little-known efforts to manage the collective spiritual life of the Soviet people.

5 Questions With … Rick Elphick on Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa

This semester, Rick Elphick is teaching a sophomore history tutorial on "The Emergence of Modern Europe" and "The History of Southern Africa."

This semester, Rick Elphick is teaching a sophomore history tutorial on “The Emergence of Modern Europe” and “The History of Southern Africa.”

In this edition of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Richard “Rick” Elphick, professor of history and co-chair of the College of Social Studies. Elphick is the author of The Equality of Believers: Protestant Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa, published by the University of Virginia Press in September 2012.

Q: What do you think is the main message, or the main achievement, of your new book?

A: For decades, historians of South Africa have struggled to trace how a white minority, starting in the 1650s, established a system of stark inequality among the races in the region. My book attempts to reconfigure the history of South Africa by interweaving the pressures toward inequality, which are now fairly well understood, with an account of the pressures toward racial equality. These pressures, I argue, were rooted chiefly in the proclamation of the equality of all persons before God, a message brought to South Africa by Christian missionaries. My story begins with the first missionary in 1737, and ends in 1960.

Q: Do you give the missionaries credit for the eventual overthrow of white rule and apartheid in the 1990s?

A: Not really. I do give credit to the mission schools, where black leaders, almost all of them devout Christians, acquired a belief in racial equality that inspired their resistance to oppression. I also emphasize how Christian doctrine ate away at the conscience of some white South Africans. But, as for the missionaries themselves, many appear in my book as deeply conflicted between their theoretical ideals and their fear of confronting the white power structure. And many showed a lack of confidence in blacks that bordered on racism.

Q: You also say that missionaries helped create the apartheid ideology?

A: Many writers have tried to find a link between religion and the doctrine of radical racial separation known as apartheid. In my view, however, they have looked in the wrong places. I trace the origins of the doctrine to missionary leaders of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Adler ’11 Will Study British Print Culture in the U.K. as a Marshall Scholar

Zully Adler '11 was nominated for the Marshall Scholarship by Wesleyan’s International Scholarships Committee.

Zully Adler ’11 was nominated for the Marshall Scholarship by Wesleyan’s International Scholarships Committee.

History major Solomon “Zully” Adler ’11 has been named a Marshall Scholar for 2013-14, an honor that will allow him to study toward a graduate degree at a British university. He is Wesleyan’s eighth Marshall Scholar, and the first since 1996.

The Marshall Scholarship was founded in 1953 in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall to commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan (the American program to help European economies rebuild after the end of World War II). Each year, up to 40 intellectually distinguished young American scholars are selected to receive full financing of a graduate degree at a U.K. institution in any field of study. More information on the program is available here.

Adler was nominated for the Marshall Scholarship by Wesleyan’s International Scholarships Committee, and President Michael S. Roth signed a letter of institutional endorsement. Professor of Art David Schorr and Adler’s thesis advisor, Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history and science in society, wrote letters of recommendation for him.

Adler studied printmaking, typography and graphic design with Schorr as well as serving as his teaching apprentice. Schorr said, “Zully’s abilities as an artist and designer were commensurate with his intellectual gifts, and in fact, his ability to make his own complex ideas visual was his great gift. His work was challenging and always witty, and though not a studio major, he and his roommate had a two-person show in Usdan of their work in printmaking and typography.”

According to Tucker, the History Department awarded Adler the Dutcher Prize in recognition of his outstanding performance as a history major. Adler’s excellent honors thesis, “‘I Belong to Every Country’: John James Audubon and the Multivalence of National Identity,” received high honors in the History Department with a grade of A+, and has drawn attention from scholars of the history of science and art.

Adler says Tucker, who was a Marshall Scholar herself at the University of Cambridge in 1988, suggested he apply for the scholarship based on his interest in researching the United Kingdom. “I was fascinated by British print culture in the 19th century and its many transformations—from letterpress to engraving, to lithography, and finally the offset rotary press. I also had a particular affinity for the British Arts and Crafts Movement,” he says. “The Marshall was the perfect opportunity to explore these histories through interdisciplinary practice.”

Adler’s studies in the U.K. will begin in Fall 2013. The Marshall Scholarship is granted before applicants are officially accepted by the individual universities. Adler’s preference is to first earn a one-year Master of Studies in Art History and Visual Culture at Oxford University. There, he intends to write a short dissertation on William Morris, the Kelmscott Press, and the nexus of independent print and commercial reproduction in the late 19th century. In his second year, he hopes to study at the Glasgow School of Art and earn a Master of Research in Creative Practices. This program explores how academic research informs studio practice/creative production.

Zully Adler performs with Suweiai Bopu (Soviet Pop) in Beijing, China during his Watson Fellowship in January.

Zully Adler performs with Suweiai Bopu (Soviet Pop) in Beijing, China during his Watson Fellowship in January.

Ultimately, Adler says, these programs will prepare him to earn a Ph.D. in History. He plans to pursue an academic post that will allow him to study Modernism in Visual Culture and teach history in a hands-on manner. “If everything goes my way, I will be able to fold curatorial and editorial practice into my academic work,” he says.

Adler, who hails from Los Angles, Calif., applied for the Marshall Scholarship while traveling around the world through a year-long Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which ended in August. During this year, Adler researched independent and sustainability approaches to community art and music, and collaborated with DIY music labels (specifically, cassette-based labels) and musicians in nearly 40 cities across 15 countries. In each location, he lived with a local artist and worked with a local “collective,” who shared their space and equipment with him. (Read more about Adler’s Watson Fellowship in this Wesleyan Connection article.)

“My work included collaborating on new releases of local music, organizing collaborative concerts, and recording with various musicians. I took part in several panel discussions on new approaches to independent music,” Adler says.

Adler traces his academic pursuits back to his relationships with Wesleyan faculty. “I owe so much to my mentors and instructors, who prompted my fascination with Morris, my addiction to print, and my love of research,” he says. Specifically, “Professor Joseph Siry’s course of Modern European Architecture introduced me to the work at theory of William Morris, John Ruskin, and the whole British Arts and Crafts Movement. Professor David Schorr’s course on Typography was the foundation for my interest in the craft of print. He opened my eyes to the world of design; a visual code that permeates our everyday lives. My academic advisor, Professor Magda Teter, encouraged my study of books. Her courses on Jewish History and the History of the Book gave new life to old tomes. My thesis advisor, Jennifer Tucker, proved to me that Visual Culture is a worthy pursuit. She fostered my appetite for Victorian England and the 19th century in general. And working with Suzy Taraba in Wesleyan’s Special Collections proved how exciting and rewarding archival research can be. All I needed were some great people to help me out.”

#THISISWHY

Whitmore ’62 Co-Edits Essential Anthology About Vietnamese History

Book co-edited by John Whitmore '62.

Book co-edited by John Whitmore ’62.

John Whitmore ’62 has co-edited Sources of Vietnamese Tradition (Columbia University Press), a fascinating guide to 2,000 years of Vietnamese history and a comprehensive overview of the society and state of Vietnam. Well-chosen selections deal with key figures, issues, and events, and they create a thematic portrait of the country’s developing territory, politics, culture and relations with neighbors. The volume explores Vietnam’s remarkable independence in the face of Chinese and other external pressures while it recognizes the complexity of the Vietnamese experience over the years.

The anthology begins with selections that cover more than a millennium of Chinese dominance over Vietnam (111 B.C.E.–939 C.E.) and follows with texts that illuminate four centuries of independence ensured by the Ly, Tran and Ho dynasties (1009–1407). The earlier cultivation of Buddhism and Southeast Asian political practices by the monarchy gave way to two centuries of Confucian influence and bureaucratic governance (1407–1600), based on Chinese models, and three centuries of political competition between the north and the south, resolving in the latter’s favor (1600–1885).

The book’s final sections cover the colonial era and the modern age, and selections recount the ravages of war and the creation of a united, independent Vietnam in 1975. Each chapter includes readings that relate to the views, customs, outside influences on, and religious and philosophical beliefs of a rapidly changing people and culture.

Whitmore is a research associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, and a specialist on premodern Vietnamese and Southeast Asian history. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Virginia and the University of California-Los Angeles.

Rahaim ’00 Examines Gesture and Voice in Indian Vocal Music

Matthew Rahaim ’00

In Musicking Bodies: Gesture and Voice in Hindistani Music (Wesleyan University Press), Matthew Rahaim ’00 studies the role of the body in Indian vocal music. Indian vocalists have long traced intricate shapes with their hands while improvising melody. Although every vocalist has an idiosyncratic gestural style, students inherit ways of shaping melodic space from their teachers, and the motion of the hand and voice are always intimately connected.

Book by Matthew Rahaim ’00

Musicking Bodies is among the first extended studies of the relationship between gesture and melody. Rahaim draws on years of vocal training, ethnography, and close analysis to examine the ways in which hand gesture is used alongside vocalization to manifest melody as dynamic, three-dimensional shapes. The book builds on insights of phenomenology, Indian and Western music theory, and cultural studies to illuminate not only the performance of gesture, but its implications for the transmission of culture, the conception of melody, and the very nature of the musicking body. Several helpful illustrations and photographs have been included in the publication.

Rahaim is an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota. He was a music major at Wesleyan and received his MA and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Art History’s Aksamija Awarded I Tatti Fellowship

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is writing a book on the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti at Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is writing a book on the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti at Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.

Nadja Aksamija, associate professor of art history, is spending her 2012-13 year abroad in Florence, Italy as a Robert Lehman Fellow at the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. She is one of 15 scholars to receive the fellowship.

I Tatti Fellows are selected by an international and interdisciplinary committee that welcomes applications from Italian Renaissance scholars from all nations.

While abroad, Aksamija is researching the Bolognese villa in the age of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti.

“My project investigates the Bolognese villa culture at the end of the 16th century, a period marked by Catholic reform and huge cultural and intellectual shifts resulting from these changes, as well as from new scientific discoveries,” she says.

Wesleyan Welcomes 64 International Students

Sixty-four international students hailing from Algeria to Zimbabwe joined the Class of 2016. International Student Orientation began Aug. 26. The program is designed to introduce international students to campus life at Wesleyan and ease their transition to the United States. Students took campus tours, went shopping, learned about writing programs, health matters, counseling and psychological services, performed a skit, and attended a workshop on managing U.S. academic and Wesleyan culture. The international students transitioned into New Student Orientation on Aug. 30.

Photos of International Student Orientation are below:

Muslim Chaplain Aly Awarded Civic Leadership Fellowship

Marwa Aly

Marwa Aly

Through the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain Marwa Aly is engaging with experts in various fields and is articulately developing a vision and purpose in her work as a chaplain.

As one of 22 prominent Muslim Americans who received a 2011-2012 Civic Leadership Fellowship, Aly is connecting to a network of civic leaders across the country and facilitating a forum for constructive intra-Muslim dialogue. She’s learning how to identify leadership needs, ways to guide the development of projects, partnerships and resources and gaining practical skills in communication, community mobilization, leadership, advocacy and organizational management.

“I am looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned in my career as a Muslim chaplain,” she says.

The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) is housed at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC), and works in partnership with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University.

The Institute aims to empower emerging American Muslim civic leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 to help their communities engage in effective civic participation. The program will convene over the course of eight months. During this period, AMCLI fellows participate in three residential programs, as well as a series of conference calls and online programs. They also attend three retreats in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Aly has been the Muslim Chaplain at Wesleyan and Trinity College since 2008. She is an activist that provides pastoral care from an Islamic perspective and guidance counseling for the Muslim students on campus. She’s active with the Muslim American Society and is on the speaker’s bureau for the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut. Her web site is www.marwaaly.com.

Aly, who’s working towards a certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, applied for the fellowship after being encouraged by a former fellow, Rabia Chaudry.

“Initially, I thought it would be a great way to network with other like-minded Muslims, active in their communities and excelling in their professional fields. After the first retreat in Chicago, however, I realized just how much the directors, Brie Loskota and Nadia Roumani have invested in giving us the proper training tools to develop as leaders,” she says.

Following the final conference in May, Aly will receive a certificate of completion during a graduation ceremony.

Faculty, Students, Leaders Discuss U.S.-Pakistan Relations

The Wesleyan International Relations Association hosted a conference titled “Deciphering Pakistan and U.S.-Pakistan Relations,” Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Top academics and commentators discussed global issues with the Wesleyan community. Pictured in foreground is Michael Williams, visiting assistant professor of government and congressional candidate and panel member.

Chaudhry ’12, Akbar ’12 Attend Model United Nations Conference

At left, Kumail Akbar ’12 and Ali Chaudhry ‘12 stand outside the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland where they participated in the Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) conference March 12-18.

Ali Chaudhry ’12 and Kumail Akbar ’12 participated in the Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) conference March 12-18. Chaudhry and Akbar currently serve as co-presidents for the Wesleyan Model United Nations Society.

The conference took place at the “Palais des Nations,” the United Nations Office at Geneva (previously the Headquarters of the League of Nations). Meetings were held in rooms used by United Nation committees with journalists and interpreters in attendance.  The students dined in the UN cafeteria.

“It felt like we were living the life of a diplomat,” Chaudhry says. “We were walking around conducting negotiations and overseeing resolution writing, while having lunch with real diplomats.”

Chaudhry served as the chairperson of the Historical Security Council and Akbar

34 Students Show Art at International Photo Contest

 

Andrew Gottlieb ’14 spoke about his photo, “Break,” during the International Photo Contest reception Feb. 16 in Zelnick Pavilion. The photo contest was sponsored by the Office of International Studies and the Usdan University Center Art Committee. Gottlieb photographed the two entertainers from a Ferris wheel in front of the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. He and 33 other Wesleyan students exhibited photos.