Apr. 24, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Two Wesleyan students presented their research at the McNair Research Talks April 17 in Exley Science Center. The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the federal TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The program’s mission is to create educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. It assists students from underrepresented groups prepare for, enter, and progress successfully through postgraduate education.
First generation college students from low-income families or African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Native American Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Natives qualify as McNair Fellows. Since 2007, four McNair fellows have entered Ph.D. programs and 15 are working in research fields.
McNair Research Talks are designed for interested, non-expert students.
Apr. 24, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
Associate Professor of Art and Art History Katherine Kuenzli has won a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for next year. The award will support her work on Henry van de Velde, a European artist whose aesthetic helped shape modernism.
The fellowship – one of 65 awarded this year to scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences – provides salary replacement for faculty who are embarking on six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.
“I am thrilled to have the support for and acknowledgement of my work,” Kuenzli said. “I began (the project) in 2009 and will devote next year to completing a full draft of a book manuscript – having the energy and train of thought will be essential.”
She said the project, “Designing Modernsim: Henry van de Velde from Neo-Impressionism to the Bauhaus“ emerged out of her first book, on “intimate modernism” in Paris in the 1980s. While that book examined paintings and prints artists created for private homes, theater stages, and street corners, Kuenzli’s new work broadens that scope to include not just painting, but also the applied arts and architecture. She’s studying the internationalization of art around 1900 and attempts to broaden the public for art, while maintaining a high level of formal and intellectual sophistication. The book uncovers a forgotten chapter in the emergence of abstraction, which has been understood as painting-specific; she hopes to demonstrate how “abstract aesthetics emerged out of an attempt to coordinate the arts, and to unify art and life.”
Matthew Goldfeder, director of the ACLS fellowship programs, said that this year’s fellows were “chosen for their potential to create new knowledge that will improve our understanding of the world and its diverse cultures and societies.”
The fellows represent more than 50 colleges and universities and an array of disciplines, including music, philosophy, art history and sociology. More than 1,000 applications were received for this year’s fellowship cycle.
Kuenzli’s project on van de Velde will explore how the painter, designer and architect – who worked in Belgium, France and Germany in the decades before WWI – developed an abstract formal vocabulary that proved seminal to both painterly modernism and an activist, engaged avant-garde.
Casey Smith ’17 has received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Arabic—considered a “critical needs language” by the U.S. government—in Oman this summer.
Smith, who plans to major in the College of Social Studies, was one of approximately 550 American undergraduate and graduate students to receive the Critical Language Scholarship. CLS participants will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in one of 13 countries. They will study critical needs languages such as Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu, among others.
Smith currently studies Arabic at Wesleyan. She began learning the language as a senior in high school, when she enrolled in a course at nearby University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Her interest in the language was sparked by her work in high school with local refugee populations, including an internship at a refugee resettlement organization.
“Through the internship, I met a lot of people from the Middle East and North Africa. I was struck by the fact that millions of people had to flee their homes in the region, and wanted to learn more,” said Smith.
She previously had studied French in high school, but found the experience of learning Arabic to be different.
“When you learn a Romance language, a lot of the words are similar to English, so it’s easier to pick up vocabulary. Arabic is difficult, because you don’t find many words that are familiar. The alphabet is also different, and you write from right to left,” she explained. “Once you get used to it, though, it becomes more like learning any other language.”
Smith was eager to study abroad at some point during her college career. This semester, when her Arabic professor emailed the class about the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship, Smith saw an opportunity to study in the Middle East—a part of the world she has always wanted to visit.
According to Smith, the CLS program sends students to Morocco, Jordan and Oman to study Arabic. She was surprised to learn she would be studying in Oman.
“I didn’t know anything about Oman, really, until I started researching the places I’d be going. It got a lot more exciting because it’s so unfamiliar and different,” she said. Continue Reading »
Apr. 23, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Apr. 22, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Apr. 22, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Apr. 22, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, is the author of Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution, published by Oxford University Press in April 2014.
In Episodic Poetics, Garrett merges narrative theory with social and political history to explain the early American fascination with the episodic, piecemeal plot.
Since Aristotle’s Poetics, the episode has been a vexed category of literary analysis, troubling any easy view of the subsumption of unwieldy narrative parts into well-plotted wholes. Episodic Poeticsproposes a new method of reading and a new way of conceiving of literary history. The book combines theoretical reflection and historical rigor with careful readings of texts from the early American canon such as The Federalist, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, along with hitherto understudied texts and ephemera such as Washington Irving’s Salmagundi, Susanna Rowson’s Trials of the Human Heart and the memoirs of the metalworker and failed entrepreneur John Fitch. Garrett recounts literary history not as the easy victory of grand nationalist ambitions, but rather as a series of social struggles expressed through writers’ recurring engagement with incompletely integrated forms.
Read more about Garrett in this past Wesleyan Connection article.
Apr. 22, 2014 by Olivia Drake
Clark Maines, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, is the co-editor of the book Consuetudines et Regulae: Sources for Monastic Life in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, published by Brepolis Publishers in April 2014. Maines also is professor of art history, professor of archaeology, professor of environmental studies and professor of medieval studies.
This volume addresses the nature and quality of the lives of monks and canons in Western Europe during the middle ages and the early modern period. Building on the collaborative spirit of recent work on medieval religion, it includes studies by historians of the religious orders, liturgy and ritual as well as archaeologists and architectural historians. Several studies combine the interpretation of texts, most particularly customaries and rules, with the analysis of architecture. The volume sheds new and exciting light on monastic daily life in all its dimensions from the liturgical and the quotidian to the spatial and architectural.
Carolyn Marino Malone, professor of art history at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles co-authored the book.
At Wesleyan, Maines specializes in the study of monasticism from architecture in its structural and ritual dimensions to technology and monastic domains.
Apr. 22, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
The second annual Cardinal Golf Outing to benefit Wesleyan women’s athletics will be held May 12 at Lyman Orchards Golf Club. This year, there’s a twist: in conjunction with the tourney, which celebrates Wes women of the 1980s, alumnae will be on hand to offer advice and support to current students.
The two-hour mentoring session in Daniel Family Commons will match alumnae with current Cardinals to discuss careers, academics and athletics.
“We started the Cardinal Golf Outing to raise money for women’s sports at Wesleyan,” said Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Mike Whalen ’83. “This year we’re adding the Mentoring Workshop to provide our alumnae the opportunity to engage current student-athletes, and provide them with career advice.”
The 2013 tournament, which celebrated the pioneering Wesleyan women athletes from the early years of co-education, attracted 127 golfers and raised more than $20,000. Guests at the evening dinner party had a chance to bid in a silent auction, which is being offered again this year.
All funds raised through the event count toward Wesleyan’s multi-year, multi-million dollar campaign celebrating access, inquiry and impact across the university. Financial aid is the focus of the cam paign, and alumni, parents and friends are urged to share not just their gifts, but their reasons why a Wesleyan education is their cause.
To register for the golf tournament, the mentoring sessions or the dinner, go to this link on WesConnect.
Apr. 18, 2014 by Olivia Drake
WesFest, the annual three-day celebration of all things Wesleyan, was held April 16-18 for admitted students and their families. WesFest allows the students to experience university life first-hand and explore the diverse opportunities that a Wesleyan education has to offer.
During Wes Fest, Class of 2018 admitted students had the opportunity to tour campus, visit Exley Science Center and the Center for the Arts, have lunch at the all-campus barbecue, meet Wesleyan students at student-to-student panels, attend a Student Activities Fair, participate in “Homerathon,” an all-day reading of Homer’s “Odyssey,” learn about classes and programs during academic departmental open houses, and meet Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Watch a video of President Roth’s welcome to students and families online here.)
Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan of San Diego, Calif. attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan. She learned about Wesleyan through its website and reading about it online.
“Wesleyan sounded like a nice place and it’s one of the top schools on my list,” she said. “Now that I’m here, I think it is a beautiful campus and I enjoyed the students who led the campus tour. I also met [President Roth] this morning. That was so cool to meet the president!”
Hannah Levin of Philadelphia, Pa. attended WesFest with her mother Joan Joanson. The mother-daughter duo, who enjoyed lunch at Usdan’s Marketplace, previously visited campus in 2012.
“I applied to Wesleyan because I was looking for a liberal arts education that offered professor access and a science program. I also like Wesleyan’s vibrant and creative community,” Levin said.
At the all-campus barbecue April 18, families braved unseasonably chilly temperatures to sit out on Foss Hill and enjoy lunch while a student band played.
Caroline Diemer of San Jose, Calif. relaxed over lunch with her father. She had applied to Wesleyan early decision, and returned to learn more about the school she will be attending next fall. Diemer plans to play on Wesleyan’s volleyball team, so she hung out with her future teammates. She also attended a class called “Living in a Polluted World,” watched an a capella concert, and spent the morning wandering the stacks of Olin. Despite the cold, she said she was really enjoying her visit.
David Hoffman of Wilmington, Del. shared lunch with his parents. Visiting Wesleyan since the previous day, he had taken a tour, attended an info session, sat in on chemistry and architecture classes, and gone to a film screening.
“I love it—the culture, the kids,” he said. “Everyone is very relaxed, and very smart. They know when to have fun and when to work.”
Anthony Springate of Louisville, K.Y. stayed overnight at Wesleyan with a current student.
“I made lots of new friends and met a lot of new people,” he said. “It seems like such a community, and such a diverse group of people, but it’s all so harmonious and cool. I love it!”
Photos of WesFest are below. Continue Reading »
Apr. 18, 2014 by Lauren Rubenstein
Emily Weitzman ’14, a double major in English and dance and an original member of Wesleyan’s slam poetry team (WeSlam), will travel around the world studying slam poetry, community and culture under a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.
Weitzman plans to visit South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal and Ireland to explore communities of slam poets. She was one of about 40 individuals this year to receive the prestigious fellowship, which comes with a $28,000 stipend for travel and independent study. She will begin her year-long journey by August 1.
“While my proposed topic is slam, something that I really love about the Watson is that it’s not so much about your project as it is about your experience while pursuing a project. The Watson says that they ‘pick people, not projects,’” she said. “Just like slam is a vehicle for sharing art, my project is a vehicle for experiencing the world, and the people and art across the globe. So for me, pursing this project is really about meeting new people, learning about diverse cultures, immersing myself in different places, and experiencing the art created in different communities. It’s also probably about a whole bunch of things that I don’t even know yet.”
Weitzman became interested in slam poetry during her freshman year at Wesleyan, when Michael Rosen ’11 founded WeSlam, a performance poetry team that competes regionally and nationally. Weitzman has been part of all four teams in WeSlam history that have competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI); in 2011, she won “Best Persona Poem” for a group piece performed with Randyl Wilkerson ’12, and in 2012, won “Funniest Poem” for her poem “Couch.” (Watch a video of Weitzman performing “Couch” at the Yale Regionals in 2012). Continue Reading »