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Rachel Wachman '24April 5, 20225min
During the annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression, keynote speaker Keith Whittington discussed how free speech has been a politicized issue since early America, and he expanded on early conceptions of free speech as it developed. “Rather than simply seeing how many people will follow you to the battlefield to beat up or kill the other side, wouldn't it just be easier if we just counted up how many people were willing to go to the battlefield, resolve those issues that way and skip the beating up part?” Whittington asked the audience. The lecture, which has been…

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Steve ScarpaApril 4, 20227min
It isn’t often that watching late night comedy would be considered preparation for an environmental studies senior capstone project, but that turned out to the case for Belle Brown ‘22. Regular viewing of John Oliver’s commentary on environmental issues helped inform Brown’s upcoming stand-up comedy set about the absurdities of the Monsanto Company. “Belle decided to do the comedy act as her capstone project as a way of presenting research about policy and politics related to big-agriculture in a format that might be more accessible to people. I just saw a preview, and it is hilarious as well as informative,”…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 28, 202211min
After four years of developing and honing their artistic skills, 30 art studio majors from the Department of Art and Art History have completed senior thesis projects this spring and are sharing their final works with the public. The annual Senior Thesis Exhibition, held in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, is the culmination of a two-semester thesis tutorial. The exhibition is critiqued by the faculty advisor and a second critic, and must be passed by a vote of the faculty of the art studio program. The senior thesis allows the art studio majors to engage in a solo, rigorous, self-directed…

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Steve ScarpaMarch 25, 20226min
Author Amy Bloom’s home office overlooks a lovely section of Long Island Sound, with rocky islands in the distance, boats drifting by, and sunlight playing off the harbor. When the time comes to put pen to paper, she has a magnificent view from her window. The great view doesn’t make the work any easier. “The job is, you’ve got to go to the office. You have to sit in the chair. You’ve got to make the effort. These things don’t sprout by themselves. It’s not magic and it’s not the muse. The muse shows up when she will but my…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 18, 20224min
Eleven years ago, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, resulting in radioactive material spewing into the air, ground, and ocean. About 16,000 residents were killed from the explosions, and another 165,000 were forced to evacuate. "I should not be here," Eiko Otake shares in her most recent film, A Body in Fukushima (2021). But she keeps returning—for a total of five visits to the nuclear disaster site. Otake, visiting dance artist-in-residence, began her solo work there in January 2014. Her only audience is William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, who…

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Steve ScarpaMarch 15, 20227min
As an undergraduate contemplating what to study – perhaps even what to do with her life – Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, took a philosophy class that had a section on animal ethics. “It completely changed my life. It is why I became a philosopher. I’ve been involved in thinking about animal ethics now for about forty years,” Gruen said. “As it turns out, for a lot of students, animal ethics is their entry into philosophy.” Her research into the topic is going deeper thanks to a Brooks Institute Scholars Research Fellowship, administered by the Brooks Institute for…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 14, 20227min
Every year, Wesleyan's Dance Department faculty teach hundreds of students how to master ballet, West African, Indonesian, South Asian, Afro-Brazillian, and even hip-hop dance moves. But these scholar-teachers also work beyond the classroom, sharing their art with the general population. Last month, the work of three Wesleyan dance faculty caught the attention of the world-renowned Jacob's Pillow dance center. Jacob's Pillow is home to America's longest-running international dance festival and hosts performances, lectures, tours, films, artist talks, and exhibits, and boasts one of the most meticulously maintained dance archives in the country. "The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival is one of…

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Steve ScarpaMarch 7, 20227min
When moving more than 25,000 pieces of fine art, even a trip of a single mile can be a huge challenge. That’s the journey the Davison Art Center (DAC) Collection will begin in March to its new home in Olin Library. The move will be ongoing through the end of the summer, at least. Between planning and the rise of COVID, the DAC collection has been closed to the public for almost three years and Miya Tokumitsu, Davison Art Center curator, and Andrew White, Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, are excited for the collection to take its place at the…

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Olivia DrakeFebruary 23, 202218min
Between the first and fourth century CE, ancient Egyptians believed frogs symbolized fertility, rebirth, and the renewal of life. After a hibernation period, frogs would come "back to life" near the rising Nile River, which provided water and nutrients to the barren landscape in early spring. During this period, the frog not only became a metaphor for a renaissance, but it also became a popular icon. It could be seen in Egyptian artwork and sculptures, it manifested in the frog-headed goddess Heqet, and it could even be found on everyday oil lamps. These kidney-shaped "frog lamps," as they later became…

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Andrew ChatfieldFebruary 15, 20227min
Actor Greig Sargeant was watching a debate on YouTube in the fall of 2019 and he started getting very angry. It wasn’t new footage, though – the clip was over 54 years old. In February 1965, writers James Baldwin, one of the most powerful figures of the Civil Rights Movement, and William F. Buckley, Jr., the father of 20th century patrician conservatism, had been invited to the Cambridge University Union in England to debate the proposition “The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” “It was definitely relevant for me, being a Black man and seeing this…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 15, 20226min
By Maia Dawson '24 Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts, adjunct instructor in art, and curator for Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, has to crouch slightly when he tries to envision an exhibition from the perspective of someone of average stature. He said that when Brandon Ndife, one of the artists featured in the gallery’s latest pair of exhibitions, came to set up his postapocalyptic yet homely sculptures, Ndife had to crouch too. The result of his careful curation is an uninterrupted view from the entrance of three consecutive sculptures, and the hint of one more hiding around…

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Olivia DrakeFebruary 15, 20225min
As the recipient of a Chicken & Egg Pictures award, lauded filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain will continue telling the stories of ways underrepresented people experience life in the United States. Strain, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, associate professor of film studies, and co-director of the Wesleyan Documentary Project, is one of only six documentary film directors to receive the Chicken & Egg award in 2022. The honor comes with an unrestricted $50,000 grant. "The Chicken & Egg Award makes bold investments in the personal and professional wellbeing of visionary women and gender nonconforming documentary makers,” said Chicken & Egg Pictures…