Faculty

4 Faculty Receive Tenure, Promotions

The following faculty were conferred tenure, effective July 1, 2021 by the Board of Trustees at its most recent meeting:

David Kuenzel, associate professor of economics; Michelle Personick, associate professor of chemistry; and Olga Sendra Ferrer, associate professor of Spanish.

In addition, one faculty member was promoted, effective July 1, 2020: Valerie Nazzaro, associate professor of the practice in quantitative analysis.

Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching appear below:

David Kuenzel

David Kuenzel

David Kuenzel’s scholarship focuses on international trade and economic growth. In his research, he analyzes nations’ trade policies, trade flows, and economic growth in connection with the policies of institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) or with national political arrangements. He has published peer-reviewed papers in such prestigious journals as European Economic Review, Canadian Journal of Economics, Review of International Economics, Journal of Macroeconomics, and International Journal of Forecasting, and has co-authored International Monetary Fund (IMF) working and policy papers. Professor Kuenzel has been a visiting scholar at the IMF and the WTO. He offers courses on economic growth, macroeconomics, international trade, and economic theory.

Karageorgos’ Paper on T.S. Eliot and Joseph Brodsky Honored by AATSEEL

Nataliya Karageorgos

Nataliya (Natasha) Karageorgos

The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) honored Nataliya Karageorgos, assistant professor of the practice in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, with the Best 2020 Slavic and East European Journal Article (SEEJ) award.

Karageorgos’ article, titled “‘A List of Some Observations’: The Theory and Practice of Depersonalization in T.S. Eliot and Joseph Brodsky,” was published in the Fall 2019, Volume 63, Issue 3 of SEEJ.

Karageorgos’ article argues that Joseph Brodsky’s use of depersonalization owes a lot to Brodsky’s readings of T.S. Eliot, and that Eliot’s role in Brodsky’s evolution has thus far been underestimated. She traces Brodsky’s engagement with Eliot during Brodsky’s youth and poetic maturation, effectively showing that, rather than merely topological coincidence, Brodsky’s use of depersonalization comes from a shared set of philosophical underpinnings.

Karageorgos specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Russian literature and links between Russian and Anglo-American literature. She’s currently working on a book titled Forbidden Attraction: Russian Poets Read T.S. Eliot During the Cold War. Her scholarly interests include poetry and poetics, cognitive linguistics, modernism, postmodernism, Cold War studies, and post-colonial studies.

Siry’s Book on Air-Conditioning in Modern American Architecture Published

Joe Siry BookJoseph Siry, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, is the author of Air-Conditioning in Modern American Architecture, 1890–1970 (Penn State University Press, February 2021).

According to the book’s abstract, Air-Conditioning in Modern American Architecture, 1890–1970 documents how architects made environmental technologies into resources that helped shape their spatial and formal aesthetic. In doing so, it sheds important new light on the ways in which mechanical engineering has been assimilated into the culture of architecture as one facet of its broader modernist project.

Tracing the development and architectural integration of air-conditioning from its origins in the late 19th century to the advent of the environmental movement in the early 1970s, Siry shows how the incorporation of mechanical systems into modernism’s discourse of functionality profoundly shaped the work of some of the movement’s leading architects, such as Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gordon Bunshaft, and Louis Kahn. For them, the modernist ideal of functionality was incompletely realized if it did not wholly assimilate heating, cooling, ventilating, and artificial lighting. Bridging the history of technology and the history of architecture, Siry discusses air-conditioning’s technical and social history and provides case studies of buildings by the master architects who brought this technology into the conceptual and formal project of modernism.

Study by Snashall ’21, Poulos Published in Forests

Gabe Snashall ’21 and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Helen Poulos are the co-authors of “Oreos Versus Orangutans: The Need for Sustainability Transformations and Nonhierarchical Polycentric Governance in the Global Palm Oil Industry,” published in the Feb. 22 issue of Forests.

According to the paper’s abstract, “While the myriad benefits of palm oil as a food, makeup, and cleaning product additive drive its demand, globally, the palm oil industry remains largely unsustainable and unregulated. The negative externalities of palm oil production are diverse and devastating to tropical ecosystem integrity and human livelihoods in palm oil nations. Given the current trend in increasing sustainability and transparency in global supply chains, we suggest that sustainability policy reforms are feasible and have the potential to promote 21st-century U.S. and international sustainability standards. Polycentric governance may improve the attainment of sustainable global palm oil standards with a set of rules that interact across linear and nonlinear hierarchies and structures, thereby improving collaboration efforts, and increasing connectivity and learning across scales and cultures. Transformations towards sustainability in international palm oil governance has the potential to make valuable contributions to global sustainable development and improve the prosperity of poor rural communities in the tropics by providing a framework for achieving palm oil trade transparency and aligning the sustainability goals across a range of actors.”

Ostfeld ’10, MA ’12 Named a “40 Under 40”

Rosemary Ostfeld

Rosemary Ostfeld

Rosemary Ostfeld ’10, MA ’12, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and public policy, was named to Connecticut Magazine’s 2021 “40 Under 40” list.

The 32-year-old from East Lyme, Conn., is the founder of Healthy PlanEat, a new sustainable food-tech startup that helps farmers who use sustainable growing practices sell their farm-fresh goods (whether fruits or veggies, cheese or oysters) directly to local customers.

Farmers using Healthy PlanEat—which enthusiastic members of the community helped start via a crowdfunding campaign—can upload inventory, set distribution options, and manage incoming orders. Customers can purchase food to pick up at the farms themselves, at farmers markets, at pop-up shop locations, or for delivery.

Ostfeld currently works with 14 USDA Certified Organic and Northeast Organic Farming Association Farmer’s Pledge farms in Connecticut and has plans to expand Healthy PlanEat throughout the Northeast.

She completed a BA/MA in biology and earth and environmental sciences at Wesleyan, an MPhil in environmental policy, and a PhD in land economy at the University of Cambridge as a Cambridge Trust Scholar. Her doctoral research focused on exploring the impact of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a multi-stakeholder initiative designed to improve environmental sustainability in the palm oil industry.

This spring, she is teaching CSPL 239: Startup Incubator; E&ES 197: Intro to Environmental Studies; and ENVS 125: Community Gardening.

3 Works of Poetry Nominated for NAACP Images Awards

NAACP

Three titles affiliated with Wesleyan were nominated for the 2021 NAACP Images Awards in the Outstanding Literary Work — Poetry category.

According to the NAACP, Image Awards celebrate “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts and those who promote social justice through their creative work.”

Among the five nominees is Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020) written by John Murillo, assistant professor of English; The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan University Press, 2020) by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers; and Un-American (Wesleyan University Press, 2020) by Hafizah Geter.

The collections by Murillo, Jeffers, and Geter also are longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. The PEN Open Book Award honors a work of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, or poetry written by an author of color. The award was created by PEN America’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities.

The 52nd NAACP Image Awards will air at 8 p.m. March 27 on BET. Non-televised award categories will livestream over five nights March 22–26.

The virtual ceremonies will recognize winners in more than 60 non-televised award categories in the fields of television and streaming, music, literature, film, and activism.

Hepford Honored with 2021 Applied Linguistics Research Article Award

Beth Hepford

Beth Hepford

A paper co-written by Elizabeth (Beth) Hepford, assistant professor of the practice in TESOL (teaching English as a second language), is the recipient of the 2021 Research Article Award presented by the American Association For Applied Linguistics (AAAL).

According to the AAAL, “the award is bestowed annually upon the author of a published refereed journal article which is recognized by leaders in the field to be of outstanding quality and to hold the broadest potential impact on the advancement of applied linguistic knowledge.”

Titled “An illusion of understanding: How native and non-native speakers of English understand (and misunderstand) their Miranda rights,” the paper was originally published by the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol. 26, No. 2 in 2019.

The Miranda rights, which state the legal rights of an arrested person under the law, are often misunderstood by suspects. The purpose of the study was to compare the understanding of the Miranda rights among native and advanced speakers of English to determine whether standardized assessments of second language (L2) speakers of English proficiency can predict comprehension of the Miranda rights. Their results show that most L2 participants failed to understand their Miranda rights and “displayed significant disadvantages in basic level processing in comparison to native speakers. Furthermore, they were unaware of the failure: using linguistic resources at their disposal these advanced L2 speakers constructed alternative meanings that created an illusion of understanding.”

At Wesleyan, Hepford also is assistant professor of the practice, education studies, and assistant professor of the practice, English. This spring semester, she is teaching WRCT 110: Academic Writing in the U.S. for International Students and WRCT 135: Writing about Research: U.S. Style.

She’s an applied linguist whose research includes second language development, civics education for English learners (ELs), and how multilingualism is used as a marketing tool. Her research in second language development centers on longitudinal case studies with statistical analyses of the development of language complexity, grammatical accuracy, vocabulary, and fluency under the theoretical framework of complex dynamic systems theory.

Murillo’s Poetry Longlisted for PEN/Voelcker, Believer Book Awards

Murillo

John Murillo

A poetry collection authored by John Murillo, assistant professor of English, is longlisted for both the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection and the Believer Book Awards.

Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020) explores the legacy of institutional, accepted violence against Blacks and Latinos and the personal and societal wreckage wrought by long histories of subjugation. The collection includes a sonnet triggered by the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn men that becomes an extended reflection on the history of racial injustice.

The PEN/Voelcker Award, which comes with a $5,000 prize, is awarded to a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence. Rae Armantrout’s Conjure and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Age of Phillis, which are both published by Wesleyan University Press, also are longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry (read more). Winners will be announced in February.

The Believer Book Awards honor works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that are the best written and most underappreciated. The shortlists and winners will be announced online in the spring.

Murillo also is the author of Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher, 2010; Four Way Books, 2020), which was a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award (2011) and the PEN Open Book Award (2011). His honors include two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. Most recently, Variation on a Theme by Elizabeth Bishop appeared in the Jan. 14 edition of New York Times Magazine.

At Wesleyan, Murillo also is director of creative writing and assistant professor, African American studies. This spring, he’s teaching ENGL 337A: Advanced Poetry Workshop, Radical Revision.

Wesleyan Offers 2 New Coursera Courses Focused on Creating Social Change

This month, Wesleyan is launching two new MOOCs (massive open online courses) on the Coursera platform. Enrollment for both classes is free of charge.

Take Action: From Protest to Policy launches on Jan. 17 and is taught by Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, and Sarah Ryan, attorney and associate professor of the practice in oral communication. Jeffrey Goetz, associate director, Center for Pedagogical Innovation, also assisted with creating the course.

Schatz Pens New Book on the Influence of the National War Labor Board

Book by Ron SchatzRonald Schatz, professor of history, is the author of The Labor Board Crew: Remaking Worker-Employer Relations from Pearl Harbor to the Reagan Era, published by the University of Illinois Press on Jan. 11, 2021.

According to the publisher:

Schatz tells the story of the team of young economists and lawyers recruited to the National War Labor Board to resolve union-management conflicts during the Second World War. The crew (including Clark Kerr, John Dunlop, Jean McKelvey, and Marvin Miller) exerted broad influence on the U.S. economy and society for the next 40 years. They handled thousands of grievances and strikes. They founded academic industrial relations programs. When the 1960s student movement erupted, universities appointed them as top administrators charged with quelling the conflicts. In the 1970s, they developed systems that advanced public sector unionization and revolutionized employment conditions in Major League Baseball.

Schatz argues that the Labor Board vets, who saw themselves as disinterested technocrats, were in truth utopian reformers aiming to transform the world. Beginning in the 1970s stagflation era, they faced unforeseen opposition, and the cooperative relationships they had fostered withered. Yet their protégé George Shultz used mediation techniques learned from his mentors to assist in the integration of Southern public schools, institute affirmative action in industry, and conduct Cold War negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Schatz’s research focuses on 20th century U.S. history and labor history. He investigates labor and management, conservatism, labor and religion, arbitration, and Connecticut history.

Matesan’s New Book Explores Political Violence, Islamist Mobilization in Egypt and Indonesia

The Violence PendulumIoana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, is the author of The Violence Pendulum: Tactical Change in Islamist Groups in Egypt and Indonesia, published by Oxford University Press, September 2020.

The Violence Pendulum challenges the notion that democracy can reduce violence, or that there is anything exceptional about violent Islamist mobilization in the Middle East. It also addresses an ongoing puzzle in the study of political violence, and shows why repression can sometimes encourage violence, and other times discourage it. Matesan also investigates escalation and de-escalation in an inter-generational and cross-regional study of Islamist mobilization in Egypt and in Indonesia.

The Violence Pendulum is currently featured in Oxford University Press’s collection on Peace Studies.

Ellis Neyra Pens New Book on Latinx, Caribbean Poetics

Book by NeyraRen Ellis Neyra, associate professor of English, is the author of The Cry of the Senses: Listening to Latinx and Caribbean Poetics, published by Duke University Press, 2020.

Weaving together the Black radical tradition with Caribbean and Latinx performance, cinema, music, and literature, Ellis Neyra highlights the ways in which Latinx and Caribbean sonic practices challenge anti-Black, colonial, post-Enlightenment, and humanist epistemologies.