Tag Archive for Rushdy

Ashraf Rushdy in The Conversation: The Art of the Public Apology

In his new book, Professor Ashraf Rushdy explains how lynching became a form of spectacle in the late 19th century until the 1930s.

Ashraf Rushdy

Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” Amid a flood of accusations against public figures for sexual misconduct and other improprieties, Ashraf Rushdy, the Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, writes a piece exploring “the art of the public apology.” Rushdy is also professor of English, professor of African American studies, and professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Read his bio in The Conversation.

The art of the public apology

Ashraf Rushdy, Wesleyan University

Just prior to his sentencing, former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar formally apologized to the more than 160 women whom he’d sexually abused. He joins a growing list. Over the past few months, many public personalities accused of sexual assault have apologized in public.

Many of us at this point are wondering what these apologies mean. Indeed, like others before him, Nassar said that an adequate apology was impossible. He stated,

“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred. An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey.”

What, then, is it that he and other public figures are doing when they say sorry publicly?

In a forthcoming book, I look at different kinds of public apologies, including the kind of celebrity apologies we’ve witnessed in the past few months. What I argue is that public apologies are a type of performance and therefore should be understood as being different from private.

Rushdy to Serve as Wesleyan’s Academic Secretary

Ashraf Rushdy

Ashraf Rushdy (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Ashraf Rushdy, professor of English, professor of African American Studies, has agreed to serve as academic secretary for a two-year appointment beginning July 1. The academic secretary facilitates academic decision-making and supports faculty governance, provides advice and support to the Executive Committee of the faculty, the Academic Council and its committees, and the standing committees of the faculty. He also provides parliamentary advice, helps to administer faculty elections, and informs the faculty on matters related to the academic program and faculty responsibilities.

Rushdy will be replacing Tom Morgan, professor of physics, who has served as academic secretary since 2003. Rushdy previously served as academic secretary in 2010-2011 (while Morgan was on sabbatical).

Read a Q&A with Professor Rusdy in this past News @ Wesleyan article.

Kottos, Rushdy, Scowcroft Appointed Endowed Professorships

Three Wesleyan faculty members received endowed professorships for the 2013-14 academic year.

Tsampikos Kottos, associate professor of physics, is being honored with 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.”

Ashraf Rushdy, professor of English, professor of African-American studies, is being awarded the Benjamin L. Waite Professorship in English Language, first appointed in 1911.

Philip Scowcroft, professor of mathematics, is receiving the Edward Burr Van Vleck Professorship in Mathematics. The Van Vleck chair was created in 1982.

“Please join me congratulating Tsampikos, Ashraf, and Philip in recognition of their impressive intellectual achievements and institutional contributions,” said Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Tsampikos Kottos

Tsampikos Kottos

Tsampikos Kottos arrived at Wesleyan in 2005, having earned his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D., all in Physics, from the University of Crete, in Greece. Tsampikos develops models and theories of mesoscopic systems, those systems that are too small to be part of the macroscopic world and are described by the laws of quantum mechanics. His work, which is at the forefront of his field, has implications for designing and building nano-devices, quantum dots and atomic traps. Kottos has been recognized for his efforts with a number of grants from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force and the German National Science Foundation. In 2007, he was a visiting fellow at the Newton Institute in Cambridge, U.K. and was awarded the International Pnevmatikos Award, given biannually to an outstanding researcher in nonlinear phenomena. He is a prolific scientist and has published 45 peer-reviewed papers since coming to Wesleyan. Last year, he published a paper, resulting from a collaborative effort with Fred Ellis, highlighted by the editors of Physics Review A as exceptional research.

5 Questions With . . . Ashraf Rushdy on Lynching in America

In his new book, Professor Ashraf Rushdy explains how lynching became a form of spectacle in the late 19th Century until the 1930s.

In his new book, Professor Ashraf Rushdy explains why lynching became a form of spectacle in the late 19th Century until the 1930s. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

(Story contributed by Jim H. Smith)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Ashraf Rushdy, professor of English, professor of African American Studies and chair of the African American Studies Program. Rushdy is the author of American Lynching, a meticulously researched interpretive history of how lynching became a uniquely American phenomenon and how it has endured, evolved and changed over the course of three centuries. The book was published by Yale University Press in October 2012.

American Lynching by Ashraf Rushdy

American Lynching by Ashraf Rushdy

Q: Scholars have been writing about lynching for more than a century now. There is a significant body of extant literature. What did you aim to achieve with American Lynching? How is it different from other books on the subject?

A: There are, indeed, many books about lynching, and I’m beholden to that body of scholarship. Many of the books that have been written are about specific cases of lynching. There are fewer books that attempt to interpret the phenomenon generally. That’s what I have attempted to do with my book.

Lynching has been part of the American fabric for a long time, but the term has not consistently described the same thing over that time. I wanted to understand how lynching had taken root in America and how one practice, widely referred to as lynching, could develop into something quite different. And I wanted to offer a strong interpretation.

It’s interesting to note that lynching was not always a racially motivated act. The relative absence of lynchings in slaveholding Northern states and the occurrence of lynching in non-slaveholding western states is explained by the extent to which the mores and established precedents that emerged from those original slave laws took hold of the imagination of the residents of those states.

Q: Is lynching a uniquely American phenomenon, or is there a uniquely American “style” of lynching?

A: Well, the term “lynching” is certainly uniquely American. It derives from Colonel Charles Lynch,

4 Faculty Speak at Diasporas Conference in France

Khachig Tölölyan, Typhaine Leservot, Ashraf Rushdy and Indira Karamcheti were invited to speak at a conference hosted by the Universite Paul Valery, Montpellier III June 20-23. The event is titled “Diasporas and Cultures of Mobility.” Rushdy and Karamcheti are invited visiting professors.

Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, editor/founder of Diaspora will be the keynote speaker. He will speak on “Twenty Years of Diaspora Studies: Success through Confusion.”

Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of letters, associate professor of romance languages and literatures, will speak on “”Maghrebo-Quebecois and Franco-Maghrebi: towards Distinct Identities?”

Ashraf Rushdy, professor of English, professor of African American studies, academic secretary, will speak on “An Apology for the African Diaspora: Race, Regret, and Reconciliation.” He will examine how the social relations of people of African descent have been affected by the development of two competing discourses – one of ‘diaspora’ and the other of ‘apology.’

Karamcheti, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies, will speak on “Names and Global Habitations: the South Asian Diaspora and the Problem of the Proper Name.” It concerns the inability of the diaspora from India to claim its national origin in its name, and the effects of this on the kinds of claims it can make on history and its own ethical treatment.

In addition, Karamcheti presented her paper at Montpellier titled “Sex Messaging: Writing South Asian Diasporic Sexuality” on May 30. Her paper examined the representation of South Asian female diasporic sexuality through the films Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, and Sita Sings the Blues, examining the relationship between the Indian nation’s aestheticizing, the diaspora’s politicizing, and the U.S. feminist universalizing of that sexuality.