Tag Archive for lecture

Alumni, Faculty Discuss Russia’s Return to the World Stage at Shasha Seminar

David Abramson ’87, Foreign Affairs Analyst at the U.S. Department of State, asks a question at a panel held by Wesleyan alumni on Saturday afternoon regarding Russia’s economic development, the prospects for foreign investors, and the range of careers available to graduates in Russian studies.

David Abramson ’87, foreign affairs analyst at the U.S. Department of State, asks a question regarding Russia’s economic development during the 2019 Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns.

shasha bannerRussia has returned to the world stage in dramatic fashion in recent years with military interventions and interference in elections.

What is driving this aggressive behavior? Will the current political system survive the scheduled departure of its architect, Vladimir Putin, in 2024? How should the United States deal with Russia?

On Oct. 11–12, Wesleyan alumni and faculty panelists tackled these questions and more during the 2019 Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns. This year’s theme was “Understanding Russia: A Dramatic Return to the World Stage,” with Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, serving as this year’s director. Rutland works on contemporary Russian politics and political economy, with a side interest in nationalism. (For a Q&A with Rutland, previewing the seminar, click here.)

The Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns, endowed by James Shasha ’50, P’82, supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues.

Race and Justice in America Today Topic of Hugo Black Lecture

On April 4, the campus community gathered in Memorial Chapel for the 28th Annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression. This year’s speaker was Jelani Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Cobb spoke on “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.”

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cobb is a graduate of Howard University and Rutgers University, where he received his doctorate in American history. Cobb frequently writes about race, politics, history, culture. He is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress as well as To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.

This annual lecture is designed to bring to the Wesleyan Campus, public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. This lecture is endowed by Leonard S. Halpert ’44 (1922–2017), who believed that the First Amendment to the US Constitution is the basis upon which we enjoy all other civil rights. This lecture is named in honor of US Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Tom Dzimian)

Wesleyan Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 12th Annual Commemoration

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pictured in the center is Penney Jade Beaubrun, assistant director for alumni and parent relations for University Relations and MLK Commemoration Committee member.

Bettina Love, award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia, presented the commemoration's keynote address. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education and is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).

Dr. Bettina Love, award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia, presented the 12th annual MLK Commemoration’s keynote address titled “What Came Before & After King: Abolitionist Teaching & Life.” During her talk, she focused on the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of hip-hop education and is the author of the book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).

Author André Aciman Delivers Annual Sonnenblick Lecture

On April 25, Wesleyan welcomed award-winning writer and scholar Andre Aciman to campus to deliver the 2018 Annie Sonnenblick lecture.

On April 25, Wesleyan welcomed award-winning writer and scholar André Aciman to campus to deliver the 2018 Annie Sonnenblick lecture.

Aciman is an American essayist and New York Times best-selling novelist originally from Alexandria, Egypt. He is the author of four novels—Call Me by Your Name, Eight White Nights, Harvard Square, and Enigma Variations—as well as nonfiction works including Out of Egypt: A Memoir, False Papers, and Alibis. He is also the co-author and editor of Letters of Transit and The Proust Project. He signed copies of his books during the event.

Veritas Forum to Explore Religious Liberty Issues in American Society

On March 1, Wesleyan will host the Veritas Forum featuring a discussion between Michael Wear, previously Faith Outreach Director of the Obama Administration, and President Michael Roth. Professor of Government Mary Alice Haddad will moderate. The event, titled, “The Trouble with Freedom: A Dialogue on Freedom in 21st Century America from a Religious and Secular Perspective,” will take place at 7–8:30 p.m. in Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center. It is free and open to the public.

The forum will explore the political, social, cultural, and religious implications of religious liberty. The presenters will share their past experiences and worldviews on religious liberty on college campuses and beyond.

“Having rich, deep, and meaningful dialogue is increasingly difficult in this polarized world, and I am looking forward to this event that brings together thoughtful, committed individuals who are willing to respectfully engage with one another publicly on topics that are complex and personal,” said University Protestant Chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska. “I am proud of my students for the phenomenal effort they have put into this program and their continued commitment to learning and dialogue.”

Wear is the founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, and a leading expert and strategist at the intersection of faith, politics, and American public life. He directed faith outreach for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and was one of the youngest White House staffers in American history, leading evangelical outreach and helping manage the White House’s engagement on religious and values issues. Today, Public Square Strategies LLC is a firm that helps religious and political organizations, businesses and others effectively navigate the rapidly changing American religious and political landscape. Wear is the author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America, and frequently writes articles for The Atlantic, USA Today, Christianity Today, and other publications.

Hallie Lecture Focuses on Ancient Greece and Beyond

On Oct. 25, the College of Letters welcomed Greek political philosophy expert Melissa Lane to campus to deliver the 24th annual Philip Hallie Lecture. Lane spoke on "Office and Accountability in Ancient Greece and Beyond." Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, where she is also director of the University Center for Human Values, and an associated faculty member in the Departments of Classics and of Philosophy. Previously she taught in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, after receiving there an M.Phil. and PhD in philosophy.

On Oct. 25, the College of Letters welcomed Greek political philosophy expert Melissa Lane to campus to deliver the 24th annual Philip Hallie Lecture. Lane spoke on “Office and Accountability in Ancient Greece and Beyond.” Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, where she is also director of the University Center for Human Values, and an associated faculty member in the Departments of Classics and of Philosophy. Previously she taught in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, after receiving there an M.Phil. and PhD in philosophy.

duCille Delivers Slotkin Lecture on “Why Racial Representation Still Matters”

Ann duCille, professor of English, emerita, delivered the third annual Richard Slotkin Lecture in American Studies on "TV and the 'Thug Default': Why Racial Representation Still Matters" Oct. 26 in the Powell Family Cinema. Her new book, Technicolored: Reflections on Race in the Time of TV, from which her talk was drawn, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2018.

Ann duCille, professor of English, emerita, delivered the third annual Richard Slotkin Lecture in American Studies on “TV and the ‘Thug Default’: Why Racial Representation Still Matters” Oct. 26 in the Powell Family Cinema. Her new book, Technicolored: Reflections on Race in the Time of TV, from which her talk was drawn, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2018. DuCille was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan from 1999-2005 and has chaired both the African American Studies Program and the English Department and also directed the Center for African American Studies.

Emerita Professor duCille to Lead Slotkin Lecture on Racial Representation

Ann duCille

Ann duCille, professor of English, emerita, will deliver the third annual Richard Slotkin Lecture in American Studies titled “TV and the ‘Thug Default’: Why Racial Representation Still Matters.” Her talk is open to the public and begins at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 26 in the Powell Theater.

“TV and the “Thug Default”: Why Racial Representation Still Matters” revisits such constructs as the “superpredator” and such cases as the “Central Park Five” in tracing the meaning, use and blackening of the term “thug.” Arguing that image is ideology—that what we see on the TV screen colors how we see black boys on the street—the talk tracks the rise of law-and-order programming that figures the black male as a dark menace to society. It demonstrates how televisual image making in compulsively stigmatizing the colored Other functions as a deadly form of racial profiling. The final section of the paper revisits the blame-a-brother racial ruses of Charles Stuart and Susan Smith as closing examples of how the racial logic of black guilt continues to influence both popular culture and public policy and also uses a riff on the Broadway musical Hamilton and the TV drama This Is Us to suggest ways of doing difference differently.

Theory Certificate Hosts Lecture Series on Contours of the Present Crisis

This semester, the Certificate in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory is hosting a lecture series titled “Contours of the Present Crisis.”

This series will respond the heightened social and political conflicts of the current moment. Talks will be held on March 7, March 30 and May 4.

“Our aim is to emphasize at every turn the relationship between what we call ‘theory’ and the rest of our lives,” says Matthew Garrett, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies and the director of the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. “Intellectual work certainly deserves a privileged place; at the same time, as somebody once said, the world won’t get better on its own, and our work in the Certificate needs to keep alive the relationship between rigorous critical thought and open, radical activity in the world.”

Suleiman Mourad, professor of religion at Smith College,