Recent Media Hits

Lauren RubensteinJanuary 30, 202013min

NewsWesleyan in the News

  1. Connecticut Public Radio: “The Struggle for Sleep: Why More School Districts Are Considering Later Starts”

Speaking as both a scholar and a mother, Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman comments in this story on the movement to push schools in the state to start later. “People ask me, as a developmental psychologist, ‘Oh, we have this mental health crisis in the state, what are we going to do, what should we be funding, what kind of resources do we need to build in?’ And I just think it’s so silly when we have such a straightforward solution that has such large, measurable impacts.”

2. The Washington Post: “For the Super Bowl, Bloomberg and Trump Are Each Spending $10 Million on Ads”

Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler and her colleagues on the Wesleyan Media Project write about what makes political advertising in the 2020 election cycle look so different (hint: two self-funded billionaires are blowing up existing records) and the unusual decision by candidates Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump to spend $10 million each to reach nearly 100 million American viewers at the same time. Fowler was also recently interviewed on Marketplace about political advertising.

3. Transitions Online: “Russian Government Reshuffle: Plus ça Change”

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, Professor of Government, analyzes the recent mass resignation of the Russian government following a surprise announcement from Russian President Vladamir Putin that he was rewriting the constitution. There is much unclear about the changes, including why Putin chose to make them at this time, and what the impact will be on Russia’s government. What is clear, Rutland writes, is that “Russia’s political system is broken” due to Putin’s constant tinkering with the country’s political institutions “to create the appearance of change while retaining power in his own hands.”

4. The Middletown Press: “Wesleyan Student Heading to Hollywood Among Writers of the Future Winners”

English major Katie Livington ’21 is one of a dozen writers from around the globe who will be honored at the 36th annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards in California on April 3. The 21-year-old junior, who comes from Oklahoma, was the first-place winner in the second quarter of the contest for her science fiction essay. In this profile, Livingston discusses her love of sci-fi and speculative fiction, and her experience coming to Wesleyan as a transfer student from a small Midwestern town. Learn more about Livingston in this video.

5. Artnet News: “How the National Archives’ Notorious Alteration of a Women’s March Photo is Part of a Long American Tradition”

In this essay, Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker and Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, respond to the recent uproar over the National Archives’ altering of controversial photographs from the January 2017 Women’s March. On the one hand, they write, this event comes in a distinctive era of “fake news” and “deepfakes.” On the other, “the bungling of the photo is also part of a long tradition of contestation and controversy surrounding public history.” Tucker and Rutland argue: “Images matter. They crystallize ideas and spur powerful emotional responses, and have often been used by protest movements to rally public attention to their cause.”

6. Rocky Mountain Institute: “Our Climate as an Infrastructure Asset”

Oriana Tannenbaum ’20 makes a case for why we should think of our climate as infrastructure. “The global climate comprises an essential and massive part of the natural systems that form the foundation for our world and our society. Our economy is built on assumptions about climate stability,” she writes. Yet, “Just as we’re starting to feel the effects of our failing dams and overcrowded airports, the costs of climate change are becoming impossible to ignore.” And just like smart investments in road maintenance, investments now in climate action “are dwarfed by the cost of neglect or inaction.”

Alumni in the News

1. USA Today: “New York Is in Uproar Over Push to Ax Gifted Programs. This School Is Doing it Anyway”

Jesse Hendrick ’94 writes: “Kirsten Cole ’93, as chair of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at our elementary school, PS 9 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, led an effort to phase out the gifted and talented track in our school. As co-chair of the School Leadership team, I was able to present her phase-out proposal to our principal and district leadership, and the NYC Department of Education recently approved our proposal. Television crews were there when I presented it: Apparently, we are the first in the country to vote out a gifted and talented track (in favor of a school-wide enrichment model, bringing more benefit to all our students, not just a few).” The article quotes Cole, including her comment: “We could see pretty clearly that the existence of the G&T track was producing segregation in our school.”

2. The Paris Review: “Errant Daughters: A Conversation Between Saidiya Hartman [’83, Hon. ’19] and Hazel Carby [Hon. ’19]”

Saidiya Hartman begins the Q&A by setting the scene: “On a rainy winter morning, Hazel Carby arrived at my office in Columbia University’s Philosophy Hall to discuss her new book, Imperial Intimacies, which is a history of empire, slavery, colonialism, and migration written in the form of a memoir. This eloquent and moving account of the entanglements of empire is narrated from the perspective of a young black girl of Welsh and Jamaican descent trying to survive in postwar Britain, a world that would prefer for her not to exist at all and that never for a moment fails to see her as an outsider, an eternal alien.”

3. “Code Switch: Cross-Racial Relationships”

In this conversation between Anna Sale from the podcast Death, Sex & Money, Shereen Marisol Meraji from Code Switch, and Morning Edition host Noel King, the three discuss overcoming challenges in interracial friendships. To understand the underlying causes, Meraji says that she “spoke for a long time with psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum [’75, Hon. ’15, P’04], who wrote Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? Tatum told me that social scientists who research cross-race friendships found that, yeah, white Americans, they do want to have fun. … But what’s, like, the opposite of fun for white Americans? Well, talking about race and racism. And you know, studies show that black Americans actually do want to talk about race and social justice, especially with their friends.”

4. Boston Globe: Michael Bennet [’87, Hon. ’12] Longshot-in-Chief, Stakes White House Bid on N.H.”

Globe staffer Victoria McGrane interviews Bennet and traces New Hampshire’s impact on past candidates. She writes: “There’s historical precedent for using New Hampshire to turn the tide of a campaign, which Bennet cites: Former senator John McCain. The Arizona Republican drove his ‘Straight Talk Express’ to victory in the state’s primary in both 2000 and 2008.”

5. St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Clayton Native Helps Revive ‘National Lampoon Radio Hour,’ Which Launched Comedy Stars in 1970s”

Writer Valerie Schremp Hahn profiles Missouri native Jo Firestone ’09, who is senior writer and one of the performers in National Lampoon Radio Hour: The Podcast. Hahn quotes Firestone, now living in New York: “It’s exciting to align yourself with these comedy institutions. … I feel like, in a lot of the arts, you’re kind of struggling for yourself or for something to validate your weird existence.”