Events

A Body in Fukushima: Photo, Video Exhibit on Display at 3 CFA Galleries

Patrick Dowdey, curator for the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies gallery, introduced the <em>Body in Fukushima</em> exhibit Feb. 5.

Patrick Dowdey, curator for the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies gallery, introduced the Body in Fukushima exhibit Feb. 5.

A Body in Fukushima, a series of color photographs and video presented in a groundbreaking exhibition across three Wesleyan galleries, is on display through April.

"Eiko in Fukushima, Komagamine No. 146, 17 January 2014," digital photo, 13.3" x 20", photo by William Johnston.

“Eiko in Fukushima, Komagamine No. 146, 17 January 2014,” is on display in the exhibit. (Photo by William Johnston)

The series is an exploration into the area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which destabilized and melted down after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The power plant released radioactive materials into the surrounding environment.

In 2014, dancer-choreographer Eiko Otake and photographer/historian William Johnston followed abandoned train tracks through desolate stations into eerily vacant towns and fields in Fukushima, Japan. Otake is a visiting instructor in dance and Johnston is professor of history, professor of east Asian studies, professor of environmental studies and professor of science in society.

“By placing my body in these places, I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. I danced so as not to forget,” Otake said. A project of witness, remembrance, and empathy, A Body in Fukushima grapples with the reality of human failure.

The explosions of the Daiichi Power Plant made the area uninhabitable. Sometimes in vulnerable gestures and at other times in a fierce dance, Otake embodies grief, anger and remorse. Johnston’s images capture her with the cries of the Fukushima landscapes.

The works can currently be seen at the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Gallery, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery and the Davison Art Center Gallery. More hours and more information see the exhibit’s website.

The exhibit features a photo and a video installation.

The exhibit features a photo and a video installation.

Faculty, Students Invited to Workshops on Contemplative Pedagogy Feb. 19

How do faculty help students, and themselves, thread a path through an ever-growing body of information? What practices can faculty and students find that enable them to bring a clear and sustained focus to their work in the classroom and the laboratory?

Through two workshops and discussions, held Feb. 19, participants can consider how one might approach teaching from a contemplative perspective, in both the long and short term. Faculty and students will experiment with the adaptation of several traditional contemplative practices to classroom situations including “stilling” (breath and body awareness), contemplative writing, “beholding,” and explore how these might be instantiated in a classroom, laboratory or personal practice.

Michelle Francl

Michelle Francl

Michelle Francl, professor of chemistry on the Clowes Fund for Science and Public Policy at Bryn Mawr College, will lead the workshops along with Wesleyan faculty and staff. Francl is a quantum chemist who has published in areas ranging from the development of methods for computational chemistry to the structures of topologically intriguing molecules. She takes a contemplative approach to both, introducing students to practices to help them find stillness and focus, including contemplative writing, and feels strongly that a pedagogical stance that recognizes the role contemplation plays in research and writing — scientific or otherwise — has the potential to deepen students engagement in their work.

“Studies show that contemplative pedagogy – a teaching method to integrate secular meditation and mindfulness into the classroom – can help improve cognitive and academic performance,”

Public Safety Holds Rape Aggression Defense Training for Staff

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Officer Kathy Burdick.

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Sergeant Kathy Burdick.    (Photos by Cynthia E. Rockwell)

The meeting ran much later into the evening than usual, and you are walking back to your car alone. The parking lot is both dark and deserted. Suddenly a figure steps out of the shadows not five feet in front of you. What do you do?

Thanks to a special training course on campus, a dozen members of the Wesleyan community have a new set of skills to use in both assessing and responding to threatening situations like the one described above.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mante and Officer Kathy Burdick.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mantie and Sgt. Kathy Burdick are teaching the Rape Aggression Defense class.

Rape Aggression Defense—or RAD—training, was recently offered to the university’s female staff members, coordinated by Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, a residential life area coordinator. Lieutenant Jay Mantie was the lead trainer, assisted by Sergeant Kathy Burdick. Officer Melissa Widlack is also a RAD trainer and works with the team. The three earned RAD training credential by passing an intensive four-day training course on the core fundamentals of RAD training.

“There was a physical component and a mental component to the training,” Mantie said. “We were given a tough and comprehensive test at the end to ensure we knew the material well.”

It’s clear that he, Burdick, and Widlack passed the week-long intensive with flying colors. While Mantie explains RAD through its mission statement (“The goal of RAD is to develop and enhance the options of self defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked”), he also underscores a key result of learning the physical techniques.

“The training empowers women through self-defense,” said Lt. Mantie, “and leads the trainees to realize that they can defend themselves if attacked, and that they can be responsible for their own safety.” The result is women with confidence because they now have a tool that they can effectively use if needed. The course is not limited to sexual assault defense, and Mantie encourages the class to consider other instances in which it may be an important asset. “RAD training also provides defense against abduction, domestic violence, or any other form of aggression towards women,” he noted.

However, Mantie also gives the trainees a caveat. “No program is capable of adequately preparing or training an individual in every situation,” he cautioned, “so there is a mental component to the training as well.”

This part is risk management, with four key tenets: risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance. In other words, the trainees are taught how to identify potentially high-risk situations, and make informed decisions to avoid or mitigate this danger.

Mantie explains, “We teach trainees to identify a bad situation before it turns worse. For example, walking alone to your car at night and seeing a van parked in the spot next to yours in an otherwise empty parking lot. It is important not only to identify this as a risky situation, but also to know what you can do to lower the chances of a confrontation.”

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Officer Burdick.

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Sgt. Burdick.

Another important part of the risk management training is awareness. Mantie noted that one purpose of RAD training wasn’t to make its trainees paranoid, but rather, to help them be able to quickly identify the times and places one has to be more alert. “We provide them realistic, real-world scenarios that they could potentially face in the future,” he explained.

On the last day of training, each woman is able to practice the moves on a male attacker in a protective suit. “I can easily feel if the women use the moves correctly,” said Mantie. “The protective suit keeps me safe, but I can tell that if I weren’t wearing the gear I would be in a lot of pain.”

Government, Legal Reform Leader Howard to Speak at Wesleyan Feb. 4

Phillip K. Howard will speak at Wesleyan on Feb. 4.

Phillip K. Howard will speak at Wesleyan on Feb. 4.

Phillip K. Howard, a leader of government and legal reform in America and author of The Rule of Nobody and The Death of Common Sense, will speak at Wesleyan on Feb. 4. His talk, titled, “Can American Government Be Fixed?” will be at 4:30 p.m. in PAC002.

Howard will argue that looking for new leaders is a fool’s errand until we restore their ability to lead. Modern government is structurally paralyzed by the accretion of dense bureaucracy. From the school house to the White House, people with responsibility find themselves mired in legal quicksand. An aging democracy is part of the problem — obsolete programs are defended by armies of special interests.

Howard's book, "The Rule of Nobody."

Howard’s book, The Rule of Nobody.

The main cause of paralysis, Howard will argue, is a public philosophy that law should not only set goals, but instruct people how to do things properly. The granularity of modern bureaucracy prevents everyone — officials and citizens alike–from taking responsibility. Public paralysis is one effect. An increasingly amoral culture is another. Instead of asking “What’s the right thing to do?” Americans are trained to ask “What does the rule require? ”

Howard’s 2010 TED Talk can be viewed here, and an appearance on The Daily Show in June 2014 can be viewed here. A complete bio is available here.

The talk is sponsored by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.

 

Astronomy Department Hosts Public Stargazing, Space Discovery Presentations

The Van Vleck Observatory on Foss Hill.

The Van Vleck Observatory on Foss Hill.

Beginning Feb. 4, Wesleyan’s Van Vleck Observatory will open to the public every Wednesday night, rain or shine, for presentations by faculty and students on the latest space-related discoveries, as well as a chance for everyone to view the sky through a telescope, weather permitting.

The program will start at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Presentations are intended to be accessible to visitors of all ages, although aimed primarily at high school level and above.

Writing at Wesleyan Announces Spring Series on Prose and Poetry

Writing at Wesleyan announces the Spring 2015 Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry.

Writer/authors in the Spring 2015 series include Ron Padgett on Feb. 25, Millett Fellow Caryl Phillips on March 4, Sadia Shepard on March 25, Rowan Ricardo Phillips on April 1 and Ruth Ozeki on April 8.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on these talks visit the Writing at Wesleyan website.

Support for this series is provided by Writing at Wesleyan, the English Department, the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Joan Jakobson Fund, the Jacob Julien Fund, the Millett Writing Fellow Fund, the Center for the Arts, and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

The 2014/2015 Series organizers include Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English; Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing; Amy Bloom, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence; and Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs.

Eighth Annual Israeli Film Festival Begins

filmfestivalThe Center for Jewish Studies is presenting the Eighth Annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival. Five contemporary Israeli films and one television show will be screened; each will be commented on by an expert, including a script writer, a film professor, a director, a critic and others.

All screenings are at 8 p.m. in the Goldsmith Family Cinema in the Center for Film Studies. Admission is free.

Below are a list of films, dates and speakers:

Feb. 12
Hunting Elephants, commented on by Isaac Zablocki, director of film programs at the JCC in Manhattan.

“We Shall Overcome” Theme of Martin Luther King Celebration Jan. 30

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at a College of Social Studies luncheon in 1964 and addressed a student rally later that day. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at a College of Social Studies luncheon in 1964 and addressed a student rally later that day. He also delivered the Class of 1964 baccalaureate sermon and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Wesleyan.

“We shall overcome: How far have we come?” was the theme of Wesleyan’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration.

All members of the Wesleyan and greater Middletown community are invited to a panel presentation and discussion to explore various perspectives about the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City to commemorate the life, civil rights and social justice legacy that Dr. King has left.

The commemoration will be held in Memorial Chapel at 3:15 p.m., Jan. 30. This is a ticketed, free event. Tickets to the event can be secured at the University Box Office on Jan. 20.

The event will include music

Telfair’s Solo Oil Painting Exhibition Opens in Louisiana Museum

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Tula Telfair, professor of art, is having a solo exhibition of 21 new monumental oil paintings at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum Jan. 10 through March 15. The opening reception is 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29.

Tula Telfair works on one of her oil paintings.

Tula Telfair works on one of her oil paintings.

In a “World of Dreams— New Landscape Paintings,” Telfair paints monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas that act as windows into another world — a dream world — where everything seems familiar yet remains beyond grasp. Drawing upon the long tradition of landscape painting from the backdrops of the Renaissance through the Romanticism of the 19th century, she presents a thoroughly contemporary perspective upon an archaic art form.

Instead of documenting actual sites, Telfair combines invented images with a variety of formal painterly techniques to achieve highly convincing yet fictitious illusions that invite contemplation upon the relationship between humankind and the environment.

This exhibition is made possible in part by a Local Project Assistance Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, funded by the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President and Metro Council.

The images, which were on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery in 2014, are featured in this past News @ Wesleyan article.

Wesleyan African Students Association to Host Africa Innovation Summit

africaOn Nov. 7, the Wesleyan African Students Association will host the first Africa Innovation Summit. Co-sponsored by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and other campus partners, the event will facilitate conversations about the growth of innovation on the African continent, and will celebrate those who are paving a new path for progress in Africa.

The summit will be held from 2:30 to 8 p.m. in Daniel Family Commons in Usdan University Center. Hirut M’cleod ’00 of the World Bank, a former Wesleyan trustee, will deliver the keynote at 2:30 p.m. There will also be panels on topics including children and youth, healthcare, and business and development. Dinner will be served, along with a dessert reception hosted by the African Students Association.

See a full schedule and list of speakers, and register online here. Tickets are $5 for Wesleyan students and $10 general admission; space is limited.

WESU Radio Celebrates 75th Anniversary Nov. 2

The exhibit “WESU: Celebrating 75 Years of Community Radio,” is on display in Olin Library and is part of WESU's 75th anniversary celebration.

The exhibit “WESU: Celebrating 75 Years of Community Radio,” is on display in Olin Library and is part of WESU’s 75th anniversary celebration.

WESU Radio will host an event to commemorate the non-commercial radio station’s 75th anniversary on Nov. 2. Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, among other dignitaries, will be in attendance to honor the station’s 75-year legacy of community service and acknowledge the radio station’s staff of more than 150 student and community volunteers.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in Olin Library and is open to the public. There, attendees can view an exhibition titled “WESU: Celebrating 75 Years of Community Radio,” which offers an anecdotal look at one of the oldest college radio stations in the United States using photographs, documents, news clippings and artifacts. Wesleyan University Archivist Leith Johnson curated the show.

On Nov. 3, WESU will be presented with a proclamation from the City of Middletown.

Established in 1939 and currently celebrating its’ 75th anniversary, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Week nights and weekends WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop Exley Science Center with a potential to reach over one million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio, online through the website www.wesufm.org.