Natalie Robichaud ’14

Harris ’98 Studies Multinational Trade Route


Tina Harris ’98

In her new book Geographical Diversions  (The University of Georgia Press), Tina Harris ’98 employs cultural anthropology, human geography, and material culture to explore the social and economic transformations that take place along one trade route that extends through China, Nepal, Tibet, and India. She makes connections between the seemingly mundane motions of daily life and more abstract levels of global change by focusing on two generations of traders and how they create “geographies of trade that work against state ideas of what trade routes should look like.”  She observes the tensions between the apparent fixity of invisible national boundaries and the mobility of the local individuals. The book as a whole challenges and confronts established theories on an innovative smaller-scale perspective.

Book by Tina Harris '98

Book by Tina Harris ’98

Harris considers what allows the traders along one trade route to make their own places through their markets and their way of life. She focuses on the effects of new infrastructure due to the economic rise of China and India on places that are rarely covered by international media. Alongside her detailed written analysis of the trade route, Harris provides numerous photographs to give readers a more visual sense of the world they are reading about. These pictures include a mule caravan loaded with Tibetan wool near Pharia, circa 1930s; a sign on National Highway 31A on the road to Gangtok, and the reopening ceremony that took place in July of 2006.

Author website

Desai ’03 to Release New Collection of Short Stories

Tejas Desai '03

Tejas Desai ’03 signs a copy of his book.

Tejas Desai ’03, author of The Brotherhood and creator of The New Wei Collective, will release Dhan’s Debut and Other Stories, his first collection of short stories, this fall.

Desai’s previous novel, The Brotherhood, the first book in The Brotherhood Trilogy, is a noir thriller that deals with contemporary social issues facing the Indian-American population.While at Wesleyan he wrote a collection of short stories with the same title and similar themes. Reworked over the years into its current version, the novel expresses Desai’s interest in “the different ideologies inherent in Hinduism and Buddhism, differences of personality and outlook, the relationship between individual and community,” topics that have fascinated him since childhood. The Evil Parrot Book Club (“book reviews by an average bloke”) says that the novel “keeps you guessing all the way to the nerve-wracking conclusion.”

Dhan’s Debut is part of a different series, The Human Tragedy, which Desai plans to alternate with The Brotherhood Trilogy. The short story collection deals with darker aspects of contemporary American life that most fiction today won’t delve into: conflicts of class, race, and extreme psychologies. “Most collections today have cute themes, boring characters, are humorless and devoid of true social or psychological significance,” Desai says. “I want to revitalize the short story collection with Dhan’s Debut. Eventually I hope to create a panoramic portrait of our diverse society with The Human Tragedy, employing a wide range of styles, characters, and situations.”

Desai’s interest in self-publishing has led him to create his own publishing company and literary movement, The New Wei.

“Publishers, both major and small, are only interested in ‘safe’ writers they can fit into an already defined market.  I want to be a dynamic writer who creates his own aesthetic and his own market, and I want to promote authors who have the courage to do the same.”  Desai believes that self-publishing, which already accounts for the majority of books published today, will eventually evolve into author collectives, and he wants to create the first.

Desai offers this advice to struggling authors: “Keep writing.  Write every day.  Rewrite and revise constantly.  Take breaks.  Writing is like exercising a muscle.  One day you will just feel it. And if you feel you have what it takes to join my collective and movement, contact me.”

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Gomes ’06 Published in June Geology Journal

Maya Gomes '06 working on her research.

Maya Gomes ’06 working on her research.”

Maya Gomes ’06 and her co-author Matthew Hurtgen published their paper, “Sulfur isotope systematics in a permanently euxinic, low-sulfate lake: Evaluating the importance of the reservoir effect in modern and ancient oceans,” in the June issue of the journal, Geology. In the paper, the authors present data that shows how geologists can use sulfur isotope compositions of marine sediments to discover variations in oceanic sulfate levels through Earth history.

Gomes explained that the paper is very important to researchers who study the climate of the past because “marine sulfate levels play a role in regulating oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the ocean-atmosphere system, which has implications for habitability and climate.”

Maya Gomes

Maya Gomes

“I fell in love with geology and research when I was an earth and environmental science major at Wes,” she said.

Gomes wants to share her work with the Wesleyan community because she hopes that it will show that the strong foundation she received in science while attending Wesleyan University has allowed her to “pursue high quality research as a PhD student.

“My thesis adviser at Wesleyan was [Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences] Marty Gilmore,” Gomes notes. “She served as an excellent mentor to me while at Wes and beyond.  However, I was also advised by and heavily influenced by many other members of the department, including Professors Johan Varekamp, Jim Greenwood, and Suzanne O’Connell.”

The paper is online here.