MacLean on ‘Ending Jane Crow’ at Russell House 2-12

The 22nd Annual Diane Weiss `80 Memorial Lecture will feature Nancy MacLean, chair of history, professor of African American Studies, Northwestern University, presenting “Ending Jane Crow: How Women’s Workplace Activism in the 1970s Changed the Country,” on Thursday, February 12, at Russell House 8 p.m. A reception will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. For more information, contact Jennifer Tucker, chair and associate professor, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at 860-685-5389.

William Manchester’s Life Celebrated on 2-5

“William Manchester: Portrait of a Writer” will be presented at the Smith Reading Room of the Olin Memorial Library on Feb. 5 beginning at 7 p.m. Sponsored by The Friends of the Wesleyan Library, the free presentation will include a talk at 7 p.m. by Leith Johnson, project archivist for Wesleyan’s William Manchester Papers, and Jenny Miglus, archival assistant for the William Manchester Papers, on Manchester’s writing process and career. Clare Potter, professor of history and American studies, director of the Center for the Americas and chair of the American Studies Program, gives a presentation at 8 p.m. that will include Manchester’s contributions as a scholar, discussion of his book The Death of a President, and an examination of historians’ responsibilities to the public. There will also be a brief reception between the talks. More information is available here.

She will provide an overview on Manchester’s achievements as a scholais part of a celebration that includes an exhibition of many of Manchester’s archival documents

McAlister on Vodou’s Rise with Haitian-Americans

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion and expert on the religion of Vodou, was cited in the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the recent gravitation toward Vodou by many young Haitian immigrants. The popularity of the religion, which blends ancient African religious traditions with the worship of Catholic saints, is said to be increasing because many first and second generation Haitians are looking to reconnect spiritually with their ancestral homeland.

Varekamp on Rumbling Alaskan Volcano

Mount Redoubt, an active volcano southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, is giving indications that it may erupt soon (the last time was 1989-90). Johan Varekamp, Herald T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, who analyzed the ash fall created by the volcano’s last eruptions discusses in The Los Angeles Times the possible environmental hazards to the surrounding landscape, people and animals that could be produced if the mountain erupts again.

Roth on Buck-Morss’ ‘Hegel and Haiti’

President Michael S. Roth reviews a new book by Susan Buck-Morss called Hegel, Haiti and Universal History that theorizes the German philosopher Georg Hegel was “inspired by the Haitian revolution of the 1790s when developing his fundamental concept known as the master-slave dialectic.” Roth explores this bold claim and the evidence and logic used to support it.

Schwarcz on Being Among 1st Scholars in China: 1-29

This year marks the 30th anniversary of The United States establishing an embassy in communist-ruled China, and Wesleyan Professor Vera Schwarcz was one of only seven invited western scholars to be there for the event. Schwarcz, professor and chair, East Asian Studies, professor of history, and director of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, was one of the very first group of official exchange scholars to arrive in China on February 23, 1979. On Thursday, Jan. 29 at 4:30 p.m., Schwarcz will present “A Thirty Year Harvest: Personal Reflections on U.S. China Relations” at the Mansfield Freeman Center.

The lecture will offer Schwarcz’s recollections on her experiences in China, as well as the evolution of American relations with China over the past three decades. Schwarcz’s scholarly research on student movements for science and democracy has repeatedly placed her at the center of public demonstrations and commemorations in 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009. While building East Asian studies at Wesleyan, Professor Schwarcz has also maintained an active dialogue with Chinese intellectuals in all walks of life, bridging the distance between Beijing and Middletown through more than 20 visits, dozens of lectures, and eight books. This talk represents the culmination of a 30-year journey toward cross-cultural understanding.

Potter in Inside Higher Ed on ‘The Obama Effect’

Claire Potter, chair and professor of American studies, professor of history, was cited in Inside Higher Ed on the debate among academics of the so-called “Obama Effect” on education, and particularly test-taking among African American students. Researchers from Vanderbilt University recently released a study stating that the test-taking performance gap was virtually eliminated during key moments of President Obama’s candidacy, showing the effect of positive role models. Professor Potter had another view articulated in an essay on her blog and Inside Higher Ed took note (it is the last item in the round-up here).