Tag Archive for College of Letters

Weil Delivers Keynote at Animal Studies Conference in Chicago

Kari Weil

Kari Weil

Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters, delivered a keynote address on “Animal Studies: The Ends of Empathy and Beginnings of Reading” at a “Why do Animal Studies?” conference April 3-4 at the University of Chicago.

During the conference, scholars discussed “What is it that draws a multiplicity of voices into this conversation, and how can they productively engage with one another? Why has this field of inquiry gained such traction in recent decades? How is Animal Studies taking shape as a field that overlaps multiple discourses and disciplines, and what opportunities or difficulties arise as a result? How do different methodologies clarify or substantiate one another, fill knowledge gaps, and illuminate unknown aspects of individual areas of interest?”

Weil has published widely on literary representations of gender, feminist theory, and, more recently, on theories and representations of animal otherness. She recently co-edited a special issue of Hypatia titled, Animal Others (2012) and she is the author of  Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now (2012) and Androgyny and the Denial of Difference (1992). Her current project is tentatively titled,  ‘The Most Beautiful Conquest of Man’ ?: Horses and Other Animal Pursuits in 19-Century France.

Weil’s Op-Ed: Horsemeat is an “Unsettled Cultural Crisis”

In the wake of a recent scandal in which horse meat was discovered in meat products labeled as beef in the United Kingdom, University Professor of Letters Kari Weil wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe about a debate in 19th century France over the morality of eating horse meat. Hippophagy, or the eating of horse meat, was not legalized until the late 19th century in France, and only after a “public campaign to override objections very like the ones Americans have today.”

“…the fact that it took so much persuasion to convince the French to consider eating horse—in a dispute that exposed passionate beliefs about public health, animal rights, and social welfare—suggests why we are once again facing a public scandal over hippophagy. At heart, it is an unsettled cultural crisis about which animals we accept as moral to eat,” wrote Weil.

Weil is chair of the College of Letters.

Kleinberg’s Article in American Historical Association Publication

An article by Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, professor of history, professor of letters, is featured in the 50th anniversary issue of Perspectives on History, the monthly publication of the American Historical Association. The article, titled “Academic Journals in the Digital Era”  is part of a forum on “The Future of the Discipline” edited by Lynn Hunt. View the full list of contributors online.

Tölölyan Teaches Transnationalism Seminar, Delivers Keynote at Diaspora Conference

Khachig Tölölyan

Khachig Tölölyan

Khachig Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, was appointed by the Social Science Research Council of the U.S. to teach a special seminar jointly with a French professor appointed by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. They taught the topics of “Transnationalism” and “circulation migratoire” to 12 Ph.D candidates–six French and six American–first at the Université de Poitiers, France, from June 11-15, 2012, then in Philadelphia, from Sept. 12-16, 2012.

Tölölyan also was the keynote speaker and gave a lecture titled “Claiming diasporas, reclaiming diaspora studies,” at the conference on “Transnationalism and Diaspora,” Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Stockholm University, on Oct. 23.

In addition, Tölölyan will be one of two American scholars participating in a conference of diaspora scholars taking place at Oxford, U.K. on Nov. 17-19.

Gifts in Honor of Faculty Support Renovated Building Project

An anonymous donor provided the lead gift to name the new College of Letters library in honor of all COL faculty—those who taught in the past, those now teaching presently, and those who will join the COL faculty in the future.

The former Squash Courts Building located at 41 Wyllys Ave. on Wesleyan’s historic College Row has opened as the renovated home for Art History, the College of Letters and the Career Center.

Notably, several College of Letters and Art History alumni have provided gifts for the project to honor faculty members from their undergraduate days.

David Resnick ’81, P’13, joined by his wife Cathy Klema P’13, contributed the lead gift to name the Art History Wing in honor of John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and Art History.

Resnick, now chairman of global financing advisory for the investment baking firm Rothschild Inc., was a European history major at Wesleyan, who earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago. It was his Introduction to Art History course with Paoletti, he says “that really opened my eyes to art from a historical and sociological perspective.”

He recalls Paoletti as “passionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable,” and took further courses with him—20th Century Art History and Early Italian Renaissance Art. Later, he served as Paoletti’s teaching assistant for Introduction to Art History.

“The exposure to art and the ways to think about art

Reeve’s Novel Celebrates Timelessness of the Natural World

Book by F.D. Reeve

F.D. Reeve, professor of letters, emeritus, is the author of Nathaniel Purple, published by Voyage in 2012.

A feud, a fire, an affair. Cows in the pasture, men at the lunch counter, violets in an old cream bottle. This is Vermont—passionate, pastoral, pungent, which forms a rich, vivid canvas for an intimate portrayal of village life. But human nature is a bit out of joint.

Years of living on the “bony” land has led the village people to jealousies and forbidden couplings. Reeve draws us into his world through the sharp eyes of Nathaniel Purple, who, as the town’s librarian, is the link to the world of books and rational thinking. He is also an everyman, a native Vermonter, able to embrace the town’s practical justice. The novel celebrates the strength and timelessness of the natural world above the daily struggle and quotidian quarrels of everyday existence. People live out their destinies while the seasons turn.

Squash Building Renovation Nearly Complete

Wesleyan contractors put the finishing touches on the remodeled squash building and faculty are moving in. The new building will re-open as the Career Center, Art History Department and College of Letters. A grand opening ceremony will be held Feb. 24. Read more about the squash renovation in this October 2011 Wesleyan Connection story.

New windows on the exterior.

A new entrance, facing the Usdan University Center.

New classroom.

The Career Center lounge on Jan. 6.

Room 203 with an exposed beam.

The central stairwell.

The central stairwell, leading out towards Usdan.

A new hallway. Restrooms on the left. Offices on the right.

Room 302 is the future office of Professor of Art Joe Siry. It shares a window arch with Room 304 and faces North College.

The new Visual Resource Center on Jan. 9.

Faculty office on Jan. 23.

Classroom, Room 114.

Classroom, Room 115.

Room 111, a conference room on Jan. 6.

(Photos by Olivia Drake and Bill Tyner ’13)

4 Faculty Speak at Diasporas Conference in France

Khachig Tölölyan, Typhaine Leservot, Ashraf Rushdy and Indira Karamcheti were invited to speak at a conference hosted by the Universite Paul Valery, Montpellier III June 20-23. The event is titled “Diasporas and Cultures of Mobility.” Rushdy and Karamcheti are invited visiting professors.

Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, editor/founder of Diaspora will be the keynote speaker. He will speak on “Twenty Years of Diaspora Studies: Success through Confusion.”

Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of letters, associate professor of romance languages and literatures, will speak on “”Maghrebo-Quebecois and Franco-Maghrebi: towards Distinct Identities?”

Ashraf Rushdy, professor of English, professor of African American studies, academic secretary, will speak on “An Apology for the African Diaspora: Race, Regret, and Reconciliation.” He will examine how the social relations of people of African descent have been affected by the development of two competing discourses – one of ‘diaspora’ and the other of ‘apology.’

Karamcheti, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies, will speak on “Names and Global Habitations: the South Asian Diaspora and the Problem of the Proper Name.” It concerns the inability of the diaspora from India to claim its national origin in its name, and the effects of this on the kinds of claims it can make on history and its own ethical treatment.

In addition, Karamcheti presented her paper at Montpellier titled “Sex Messaging: Writing South Asian Diasporic Sexuality” on May 30. Her paper examined the representation of South Asian female diasporic sexuality through the films Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, and Sita Sings the Blues, examining the relationship between the Indian nation’s aestheticizing, the diaspora’s politicizing, and the U.S. feminist universalizing of that sexuality.

 

 

Kleinberg Lectures at International Conference

During the Fall 2010 semester, Ethan Kleinberg delivered two lectures in France.

Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters is spending the year as director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Paris Program and an invited scholar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. During the Fall 2010 semester, Kleinberg delivered two lectures based on his current book project, The Myth of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas is a French Jewish philosopher who turned to the use of Jewish

Nussdorfer Author of Brokers of Public Trust

Book by Laurie Nussdorfer

Laurie Nussdorfer, professor of history, professor of letters, is the author of Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

A fast—growing legal system and economy in medieval and early modern Rome saw a rapid increase in the need for written documents. Brokers of Public Trust examines the emergence of the modern notarial profession — free market scribes responsible for producing original legal documents and their copies.

Nussdorfer’s Book Topic of Library Event in Rome

A book by Laurie Nussdorfer, professor of history and letters, will be discussed Dec. 16 in Rome. Her book, Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), examines the emergence of the modern notarial profession — free market scribes responsible for producing original legal documents and their copies.

Nussdorfer chronicles the training of professional notaries and the construction of public archives, explaining why notarial documents exist, who made them, and how they came to be regarded as authoritative evidence. In doing so, she describes a profession of crucial importance to the people and government of the time, as well as to scholars who turn to notarial documents as invaluable and irreplaceable historical sources.

The event is sponsored by the Biblioteca di storia moderna e contemporanea, and the speakers will be Professor Mario Ascheri, historian of law, and Professor Renata Ago, historian of seventeenth-century Rome. The director of the library Simonetta Buttò and the director of the American Academy in Rome Christopher Celenza will also give brief remarks.

Professor Irene Fosi is coordinator the event.