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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…

Rachel Wachman '24March 3, 20223min
Associate professor of Science in Society Anthony Ryan Hatch specializes in health systems, medical technology, and social inequalities. His recent paper, titled “The data will not save us: Afropessimism and racial antimatter in the COVID-19 pandemic,” published in Big Data and Society on Feb. 23, combines his areas of expertise in an analysis of disparities in racial health exacerbated by the pandemic. The paper begins with a staggering statistic: “According to the CDC Covid Data Tracker, 89,713 Black people have died from complications due to COVID-19, about 13.7% of total deaths (as of 2/11/22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 28, 20227min
Eight faculty members were conferred tenure by the Board of Trustees at its most recent meeting. Their promotions will be effective July 1, 2022. These faculty include Claire Grace, associate professor of art history; Han Li, associate professor of mathematics; John Murillo, associate professor of English; Paula Park, associate professor of Spanish; Ying Jia Tan, associate professor of history; Jesse Torgerson, associate professor of letters; Danielle Vogel, associate professor of English, creative writing' and Joseph Weiss, associate professor of anthropology. Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching appear below: Claire Grace is a scholar of American and contemporary art with…

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Rachel Wachman '24February 17, 20222min
Royette Tavernier Dubar, assistant professor of psychology and director of the on-campus Sleep and Psychosocial Adjustment Laboratory, recently authored a commentary called “#NoJusticeNoSleep: Critical intersections of race-ethnicity, income, education, and social determinants in sleep health disparities,” published in Sleep Health on Feb. 1. Dubar’s work in #NoJusticeNoSleep examines the link between racial, ethnic, and socio-economic factors relating to inequality and how well people sleep. Her commentary uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a launching point for further exposing inequality in the United States and bringing it to the forefront of public discourse through social movements, with a new emphasis on health.…

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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…

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Olivia DrakeFebruary 10, 20229min
Wesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below: In The Conversation, Robyn Autry, associate professor of sociology, responds to Whoopi Goldberg's recent controversial comments about the Holocaust. "As someone who writes and teaches about racial identity," Autry writes, "I was struck by the firmness of Goldberg’s initial claim, her clumsy retraction and apologies, and the heated public reactions."  (Feb. 7) Autry also speaks to The New York Times about the popularity of Vaseline on social…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 10, 20224min
Richard "Dick" T. Vann, professor emeritus of history and letters, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 90. Vann received bachelor's degrees from Southern Methodist University and Oxford University and an MA and PhD from Harvard University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1964 and taught in the College of Letters and History Department until his retirement in 2000. “Dick was an intellectual force at Wesleyan for decades—a gentle and persistent force for creative, interdisciplinary work across the humanities and social sciences,” recalled President Michael Roth '78. “A gifted teacher, his History and Prophecy seminar was already legendary when I…

Olivia DrakeJanuary 25, 20223min
David Morgan, professor of history, emeritus, passed away on Jan. 20 at the age of 83. Morgan received his BA from Haverford College and his DPhil from Oxford University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1966 and taught history for 37 years until his retirement in 2003. During those years he served numerous terms as the chair of history and chair of the College of Social Studies (CSS), and he served one term as dean of the social sciences. “My first memories of David Morgan are of classical music and opera pouring out of his office, with the door open, much…

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Olivia DrakeJanuary 24, 202215min
  It is not every day that an academic history book inspires a film by one of the world’s leading directors, especially when its author is former provost and professor emerita of history, Judith C. Brown. Brown’s widely-praised book, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (Oxford University Press, 1986) was recently adapted into a film, Benedetta (2021). The book tells the story of Benedetta Carlini (1590-1661), an abbess in Tuscany, who was imprisoned for claiming false visions and for allegedly having sexual relations with one of her nuns, Sister Bartolomea. Benedetta’s story remained undiscovered until Brown,…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 11, 20226min
Using high-resolution data obtained from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, Wesleyan University Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield can show the conditions the Sun encountered traveling through space over the past 5 million years. Redfield will present his findings Jan. 12, 2022 as part of a press conference associated with the American Astronomical Society’s previously planned annual conference. This work was a close collaboration of Redfield with Hunter Vannier ’20, and a major component of Vannier's senior thesis. Vannier is now a PhD student at Purdue University working on lunar mineralogy. By focusing on eight paths, each of…

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Editorial StaffJanuary 10, 20224min
Gertrude Hughes, professor of English, emerita, died on Jan. 5 at the age of 85. Hughes received her BA from Mount Holyoke College, her MAT from Wesleyan University, and her Ph.D from Yale University. She returned to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of English in 1976 and remained until her retirement in 2006. “Gertrude was a remarkable woman, a valued colleague, and a treasured friend,” recalled Bill Stowe, Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, Emeritus. “She began her academic career later than most, completing her Yale PhD under the formidable Harold Bloom while raising four children. Her book on…