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Lorna GrisbyApril 3, 20246min
Since the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, legal scholars, political pundits, professors of history, and others have debated whether the United States has taken a turn from democracy toward fascism. Some say it has. Others argue it has not. The very uncertainty about what has or has not happened gave rise to Assistant Professor of History Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins’ new book, “Did it Happen Here? Perspectives on Fascism and America.” It’s an anthology of texts from thought leaders from certain periods in the 20th and 21st centuries who take positions on the state of fascism in America. Many of the…

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Editorial StaffApril 3, 20246min
By Anya Kisicki ’22 Dante, dinosaurs, and geopolitics mingled at the opening of Assistant Professor of Art Tammy Nguyen’s newest art exhibition, A Comedy for Mortals: Purgatorio, at the Lehmann Maupin’s London gallery on March 12. Nguyen, a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow in fine arts, masterfully weaves disparate concepts together to create a new world of meaning that plays out on massive canvases, works on paper, and the intricate pages of her artbooks. A Comedy for Mortals is the second installment in an ongoing trilogy of exhibitions by Nguyen. Each iteration of A Comedy for Mortals maps geopolitical themes onto Dante’s…

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Lorna GrisbyApril 2, 20244min
Khalilah Brown-Dean, award-winning scholar and author dedicated to community building and access, is Wesleyan University’s new executive director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and university professor. “I am a community-engaged scholar and academic leader who creates spaces for collaboration and understanding. I’m passionate about confronting grand societal challenges like threats to democracy,” Brown-Dean said. “This role affords me the opportunity to tackle some of the global conflicts that we all have to contend with, while leveraging the resources of higher education.” The Allbritton Center is the nucleus of civic life at Wesleyan and is where…

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Mike MavredakisMarch 13, 20245min
The climate change Earth is experiencing today is similar to that during a period of rapid and intense global warming it experienced some 56 million years ago. Understanding the similarities can help scientists evaluate what is happening in today’s warming world, according to Ellen Thomas, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrative Sciences, Emerita. Key to that understanding is figuring out how much oxygen was dissolved in large swaths of the oceans during that period of rapid warming, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM, when average temperatures increased by 5-8o Celsius or 9-14o Fahrenheit in a few thousand years, Thomas…

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Mike MavredakisMarch 13, 202412min
President Michael S. Roth ’78 wrote an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed on his recent letters to state representatives calling for them to redouble their efforts to bring peace in the Middle East and to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. “Silence at a time of humanitarian catastrophe isn’t neutrality; it’s either cowardice or collaboration. We don’t need institution-speak, but we do need leaders of academic and cultural institutions to call on our government and our fellow citizens to address this crisis.” Roth joined the Yale University Press Podcast to talk about his book the history of the student, current crises…

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Mike MavredakisFebruary 14, 202413min
Elizabeth Bobrick, visiting scholar in classical studies, wrote a piece for Salon on the parallels between Athenian playwright Sophocles’ “Antigone” and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initial refusal to let the country’s public mourn the death of political enemy Alexei Navalny or his family hold a public funeral. “Navalny’s mother and widow join Antigone in prodding us to remember that the treatment of the dead has consequences for the living—not for Putin, necessarily, but for everyone who gets in his way,” Bobrick wrote.  Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 appeared on WNPR’s “Disrupted” on Feb. 7 to talk about his role…

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Editorial StaffJanuary 11, 20244min
Herbert A. Arnold, Professor of German and Letters, Emeritus, passed away on January 7 at the age of 88. Herb completed his studies in Germany and the US, receiving his PhD from the University of Würzburg. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1962, and taught in the German studies department and the College of Letters for 41 years until his retirement in 2003. “Trained as a historian, Herb also had a spectacularly broad and deep knowledge of European literature and Western philosophy,” recalled Krishna Winston, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, Emerita, “which made him a perfect fit for both…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 3, 20245min
Assistant Professor of Education Studies Alisha Butler will launch a new study exploring the ways that families and young people can (and don’t) influence school and citywide education-related decision-making processes. “How is it that non-system policy actors are attempting to include the decisions that affect what happens day-to-day in school?” Butler said. Butler’s study, a collaborative effort with Kristin Sinclair, Assistant Teaching Professor of Education Advocacy and Policy in the Education Transformation Program at Georgetown University, is funded through a Spencer Foundation Small Grant, a program that supports “rigorous, intellectually ambitious and technically sound research that is relevant to the…

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Mike MavredakisDecember 20, 202318min
Wesleyan’s faculty has been hard-at-work in 2023 sharing their scholarship with the world. Here are some of the books written by Wesleyan’s faculty over the past year.  Homesick Blues: Politics, Protest, and Musical Storytelling in Modern Japan by Scott Aalgaard  Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies Scott Aalgaard explores how people in Japan have used “musical storytelling” as a means of expressing themselves in their everyday life and as a political practice from the late 1940s to 2018. Within the book, he challenges assertions that political upheavals in the 1960s and 70s in Japan were the climax and end of…

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Andrew ChatfieldDecember 20, 20233min
Wesleyan University faculty and alumni are making art across the region over the next several months. Here is a small sampling of offerings: Assistant Professor of Art Tammy Nguyen’s first museum solo exhibition is on display at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston now through January 28, 2024. Assistant Professor of the Practice in Theater Edwin Sánchez’s one-act play, Still Nuts About Him, is based on Clara from The Nutcracker, and is part of the eleventh annual evening of theater Christmas on the Rocks at TheaterWorks Hartford. Sanchez also collaborated with playwright Jacques Lamarre on the latest addition to the…

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Steve ScarpaDecember 13, 20239min
Students from high schools across the country are getting the chance to “live like a philosopher” thanks to a Wesleyan course taught by Tushar Irani, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Letters. The course is offered through Wesleyan’s partnership with the National Education Equity Lab—an initiative that seeks to democratize college access and advance education justice by providing college-level courses to students attending Title 1 high schools across the country. (The New York Times wrote about the program previously.) There are six high schools participating in the course—from Albuquerque to El Paso to the Bronx—with a total of over 75 students…

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Andrew ChatfieldDecember 12, 20237min
Four prototype mosaics sit on display in storefront windows along Main Street’s Downtown Business District this fall. The quartet are a sample of what Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art Studio Technician Kate Ten Eyck will install in the pedestrian tunnel connecting downtown Middletown to the Connecticut River as part of a new public art project. The ongoing multi-year mural installation project, called “Mosaics on Main/TunnelVision," will showcase 200 million years of local history. Ten Eyck’s mosaic depicts the dinosaur Anchisaurus, one of the few fossilized skeletons found in the region, in Manchester and East Windsor. Ten Eyck held…