Wesleyan in the News: March 2024

Mike MavredakisMarch 13, 202412min
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President Michael S. Roth ’78 wrote an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed on his recent letters to state representatives calling for them to redouble their efforts to bring peace in the Middle East and to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. “Silence at a time of humanitarian catastrophe isn’t neutrality; it’s either cowardice or collaboration. We don’t need institution-speak, but we do need leaders of academic and cultural institutions to call on our government and our fellow citizens to address this crisis.”

Roth joined the Yale University Press Podcast to talk about his book the history of the student, current crises facing higher education, and building pluralistic campuses. Roth published The Student: A Short History—a broad look at centuries of educational history spanning from three landmark teachers, Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus, to learning at 21st century universities—in September of 2023.

Assistant Professor of Social Studies Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins interviewed Branko Milanović, economics professor at CUNY Graduate Center and author of Visions of Inequality: From the French Revolution to the End of the Cold War, for his regular interview series with The Nation. The two talked about the role that class played in the economic thought of historic thinkers Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx and the current and future states of inequality studies.

Steinmetz-Jenkins also wrote a piece for The Nation on the debate around fascism in the United States, which was adapted from the introduction to his recently published book Did It Happen Here? Perspectives on Fascism and America. “Anyone concerned about democracy must take seriously those forces that are hostile to it… Instead of letting fears distort politics, as another fascism debate is most likely bound to do, the goal now should be to push forward with the hope of building a better society for a new age,” Steinmetz-Jenkins wrote.

Author and poet Maggie Nelson ’94 was listed as a top 10 must-read modern poet by Britannica. Nelson has published genre-defying essays and memoirs, including The Argonauts, which received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Bluets. Nelson has also received fellowships from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment from the Arts.

Co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project Erika Franklin Fowler, professor of government, and Michael Franz, professor of government and legal studies at Bowdoin College, served on the ABC News’ Election Night Decision Desk for its Super Tuesday coverage on March 5. The pair contributed to the statistical team that helps the network confirm when statewide races can be called for candidates, a key role in election coverage.

Franklin Fowler was interviewed for a segment in a Marketplace on campaign spending ahead of Super Tuesday on March 5. “If you’re just strong partisan, you’re going to get a lot of fundraising and donation appeals,” Fowler said. “If you are someone who the campaign sees as persuadable, you’re going to be seeing a lot more persuasive appeal. And you should be expecting to see it, especially in those battleground states across the range of different platforms that you might view.”

Recently published Wesleyan Media Project data cited reporting that congressional campaigns have commissioned a record number of ad airings through March 10 was cited by The Hill and Roll Call’s “At the Races” newsletter. The Wesleyan Media Project reported that campaigns spent $163 million on over 300,000 aid airings, over 28 percent more than the previous volume record set in 2018.

WNPR’s “Where We Live” interviewed Director of Financial Aid Jen Duncan for a segment on the FAFSA application and some delays that families have experienced this academic cycle. Duncan explained how Wesleyan is ensuring that prospective students are receiving their award letters on time, despite FAFSA delays, and the University’s efforts to be transparent and informative with families.

“Something I’m really proud of, particularly at Wesleyan, are the lengths that we go to in terms of being transparent about our costs, the transparency of the process,” Duncan said. “We try to be in constant communication with our families. We have an incredibly dedicated staff who will spend so much time working through this process with families, just to help them understand all the nuances of the financial aid process.”

Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought Peter Rutland wrote an op-ed for CNN on recent Academy Award-winning film “The Zone of Interest.” Rutland writes, “the whole idea of making a Nazi pastoral film is historically misleading and frankly offensive. As Israeli film critic Avner Shavit has pointed out, [director Jonathan] Glazer has managed to make a film about the Holocaust in which we never see any Jews.”

Incoming graduate student and violinist Ameen Mokdad said during an interview on NPR that he composed his album, “The Curve,” which features percussion in the form on machine gunfire and bombs near his house in Mosul, Iraq,. Mokdad performed songs from the album at Wesleyan during the Fall 2023 semester, in partnership with the Center for the Arts, Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Dance Department, Middle Eastern Studies Program, and College of Social Studies.

Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Tracy Heather Strain received a research grant from the Catapult Film Fund for her work, according to Variety.

Drew Black, head coach of wrestling and strength and fitness coach, is set to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Connecticut Chapter in 2025 at a ceremony at Mohegan Sun. Black has spent 26 years at the helm of Wesleyan’s men’s wresting team and holds the record for the most head coaching wins in program history.

Incoming Assistant Professor of Music Darius Jones was featured in a cover story for the upcoming April issue of The Wire, a British music magazine. Jones, a New York based composer and critically acclaimed saxophonist, will begin his time at Wesleyan in July.

Emy Matesan, associate professor of government, joined  WNPR’s “Where We Live” on March 7 for a segment on calls for cease fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict from city and town officials in Connecticut.

The New Books Network podcast featured journalist, literary critic, and author Parul Kapur ’84 and her book “Inside the Mirror,” a novel that tells the story of two twin sisters growing up in Bombay, India in the 1950s. Kapur was also featured in ArtsATL, piece picked up by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for a piece on her recent debut novel. Kapur’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and GQ, among other major outlets.

Rising playwright Max Wolf Friedlich ’17 has seen tremendous success for his play “Job” in recent months. After a standout stint at the SoHo Playhouse, the production has been running at the Connelly Theater in New York City since Jan. 19 and was recently extended through March 23.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy Thomas Becker wrote a piece for the Hartford Courant on reports of ethnic cleansing of Armenian inhabitants of the Nagorno-Karabakh region by the government of Azerbaijan.

Jennifer Lame ’04 accepted the film editing Oscar for her work on “Oppenheimer” during ABC’s March 13 broadcast of the Academy Awards.