Wesleyan in the News: June/July 2024

Mike MavredakisJuly 10, 202413min
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President Michael S. Roth ’78 was one of 503 authors, critics, and book lovers who contributed to The New York Times Book Review’s “The 100 Best Books of the 21st Century” list. Roth selected his 10 top books and wrote a passage on Jon Fosse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Septology,” which placed 78th on the list. “The repetitive patterns of Fosse’s prose made its emotional waves, when they came, so much more powerful,” Roth wrote. 

Roth discussed the history of the student, politicization of U.S. universities, the relationship between university administrators and students, and what “safe enough spaces” could look like in the current climate on The Review of Democracy podcast. 

Roth wrote a piece for an essay collection analyzing Sigmund Freud’s work and legacy, “On the Couch: Writers Analyze Sigmund Freud,” which was reviewed by the Jewish Book Council. He explores Freud’s thoughts on the death instinct, mourning, and working through a loss. “Change and loss are fundamentally entangled, for Freud,” Roth wrote. 

He joined other college presidents in reflecting on the campus protests to the war in Gaza this academic year in a story in Inside Higher Ed. 

The Supreme Court upheld a Connecticut law, the Violence Against Women Act, restricting access to firearms for those convicted of domestic abuse in an eight to one decision on June 21. Director of the Center for the Study of Guns and Society and Professor of History Jennifer Tucker wrote a piece for CNN outlining the key points in the decision, its significance, and cross-referencing it with historical firearm-related decisions handed out by the court. 

CNN spoke to Assistant Professor of in the College of Social Studies and History Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins for an analysis piece on the fascism debate in America. He said that fascism is often used “to mobilize people in order to get over their divides” and there is a long history of both sides of the aisle labeling their opponents as fascists. 

Artist Lyle Ashton Harris ’88 has an exhibition “Our First and Last Love” at the Queens Museum in New York running through September 22. His exhibit, which contains personal images and items from decades of collecting and gathering, was reviewed by The New York Times. “He’s turned some three decades-worth of loosely curated personal accumulation into one of the most remarkable bodies of American art around, a data-dense, visually compelling archive, not just of one life but, as seen through that life, of the social and political history of Black queer culture in the post-Stonewall years,” writer Holland Cotter of The New York Times said. 

With the Republican National Convention coming to Milwaukee in July, political advertisements from both parties have been a fixture of local billboards, according to the Wisconsin Public Radio. WPR spoke with Erika Franklin Fowler, professor of government and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, about the influx of billboard ads. Franklin Fowler said billboards are an old-school strategy that primes audiences to receive political messaging. 

Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, was quoted in a Tampa Bay Times story on political ad spending in Florida. Ridout said that Florida is a “top three target” state for political advertisements due to its high population and volume of wealthy donors. “Floridians are being asked to donate to pay for ads — both digital and TV — that are aimed at convincing voters outside the state,” Ridout said. 

Salon spoke to Associate Professor of English Marguerite Nguyen for a story looking at the representation of the Vietnam War in Hollywood through the career of Vietnamese American actress Kieu Chinh, who has been in over 20 depictions of the Vietnam War over a 67-year body of work. Nguyen said, “These movies still have a way of recuperating American militarism, national identity, and masculinity precisely through racialized depictions of the Vietnam War.” 

Sharon Belden Castonguay, executive director of the Gordon Career Center, was also a featured expert for a Wallethub piece on the best and worst states for working dads. “The biggest issue facing working families is affordable, high-quality childcare,” Belden Castonguay said. “This one factor affects several decisions, such as how much leave parents will take, who will take it, the length of a reasonable commute, and whether they are going to stay with or leave their employers.” 

Assistant Professor of Economics Carycruz Miriam Bueno was a featured expert in a Wallethub story on the states with the most racial equality.

Sonali Chakravarti, professor of government, joined WNPR’s “The Wheelhouse” for a discussion about how reproductive care may look after the upcoming election and Connecticut’s history with reproductive rights. 

Assistant Athletic Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Engagement Dia Fortenberry appeared on an episode of WNPR’s “Where We Live” about the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia known as Hajj ahead of Eid-al-Adha. Fortenberry is a member of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut’s Speakers Bureau. 

Tara I. Allen ’91, attorney and law professor at Roger Williams University, was appointed to serve as a federal public defender for Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, according to the Boston Globe. Before she began teaching in 2018, Allen served as an assistant federal public defender for eight years, first in Pennsylvania and later in Rhode Island. 

Hyperallergic spoke with artist Carrie Yamaoka ’79 for a Pride Month series featuring queer and trans elders in the art world. Yamaoka — who works at the intersection of photography, printing, painting, and sculpture — had a solo exhibition “Insight Out Upside Down” at Ulterior Gallery in New York in June.