Tag Archive for faculty achievements

Sumarsam, Alumni Attend Indonesian Studies Conference

Sumarsam, University Professor of Music

Sumarsam MA ’76, University Professor of Music, participated in an ethnomusicology panel during the State of Indonesian Studies Conference April 28 at Cornell University. Sumarsam spoke on “Javanese Music Historiography: The Lost Gamelan of Gresik.”

The interdisciplinary conference focused on Indonesia’s anthropology, art history, history, language, government and ethnomusicology. Marc Perlman MA ’78, Ph.D. ’94, associate professor at Brown University; Martin Hatch ’63, MA’69, associate professor at Cornell University; Kaja McGowan ’82, associate professor at Cornell; and Christopher Miller MA ’02, a Wesleyan ethnomusicology Ph.D. candidate, also participated in the conference.

The conference was hosted by Cornell’s Southeast Asian Program.



Herbst to Serve as Director of Graduate Studies

Bill Herbst

Bill Herbst, the John Monroe van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, will serve as director of graduate studies, beginning this fall 2011 through spring 2014.

Herbst received his B.A degree from Princeton University, his M. Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto and has taught at Wesleyan since 1978, often serving as chair of the Astronomy Department and as director of the Van Vleck Observatory. In 2003, he received the Wesleyan Alumni Association’s Binswanger Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has recently served on the Advisory Committee, as chair of the Merit Committee, as vice-chair of RAB and, over the years, on many other faculty committees including the Faculty Planning Committee and as chair of the Student Affairs Committee.

As an astronomer who studies the formation and evolution of young stars and protoplanetary disks, his discoveries have been featured prominently in the journals of his field as well as the popular press. He is particularly known for his work on T Tauri stars, sun-like stars surrounded by disks in which the formation of planets is either already proceeding or imminent. With collaborators at the Max Planck Institute in Germany he has led the world in the discovery of rotation rates of young stars and elucidated the rotation history of sun-like stars from their earliest times. His work has been presented in many venues including the prestigious Protostars and Planets V conference hosted at the University of Hawaii in 2007.

In 1995, with graduate student Kristin Kearns, he discovered, based on observations at Wesleyan, a unique star system now known as KH 15D whose behavior continues to astound astronomers, while informing studies of terrestrial planet formation. In collaboration with his (physics) Ph.D. student Catrina Hamilton, now a faculty member at Dickinson College,

Hornstein Published in Journal of Comparative Economics

Abigail Hornstein

Abigail Hornstein, assistant professor of economics, is the author of “Where A Contract Is Signed Determines Its Value: Chinese Provincial Variation in Utilized vs. Contracted FDI Flows,” published in the March 2011 edition of the Journal of Comparative Economics, 39(1).

In the article, Hornstein explains how there are major differences between ex ante corporate investment plans and ex post investments. The case of China is useful for understanding this problem because there is substantial time series and cross sectional variation in the ratio of utilized to contracted FDI (UC ratio), which is less than one in most province-year observations. Provinces may

Gil-Ordóñez Awarded “Wammie” for Musical Achievement

Angel Gil-Ordóñez directs the Post-Classical Ensemble. (Photo by Tom Wolff)

Angel Gil-Ordóñez, director of private lessons, chamber music and ensembles received the 2010 Wammie Award for Classical Conductor / Director by the Washington Area Music Association for his efforts directing the Post-Classical Ensemble, a Washington, D.C.-based orchestra co-founded by Gil-Ordóñez.

The Washington Area Music Awards recognize significant career achievements by area musicians. Nominations and balloting come from the WAMA membership.

Past show participants include Emmylou Harris, Joan Jett, The Clovers, The Orioles, Bo Diddley, Jorma Kaukonen, Jimmy Dean, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Curran Recipient of Clifford Prize for 18th-Century Research

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran, professor of romance languages and literatures, is the co-winner of the 2010-11 James L. Clifford Prize.  The prize is awarded annually by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to the author of the best article regarding any aspect of eighteenth-century culture.

Receiving the award is Curran’s Rethinking Race History: The Role of the Albino in French Enlightenment Sciences.

The Clifford Fund was originally established to support an annual prize in honor of James L. Clifford. Clifford founded The Johnsonian News Letter in 1940, was Secretary to the English Institute, twice a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and third President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. During his long and energetic life, he produced numerous books, articles, bibliographies, essays, edited collections, editions and, of course, the much beloved, imitated, and quoted Johnsonian News Letter. Accordingly, the Clifford Prize is awarded to the author of the best article on an eighteenth-century subject, interesting to any eighteenth-century specialist, regardless of discipline.

The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is a non-profit, educational group founded to promote the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century.  It sponsors conferences, awards, fellowships and prizes, and publishes Eighteenth-Century Studies and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture.

McAlister, Daughter Present Keynote at Harvard Dance Symposium

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion, associate professor of American Studies, associate professor of African American Studies, gave the keynote presentation in collaboration with her daughter, Lovely Nicolas, at a conference at Harvard University on March 25 titled “African Dance Diaspora: A Symposium on Embodied Knowledge.

McAlister and Nicolas presented an academic performance combining dance, memoir, and dance theory in a piece titled “Move Your Words.”

Tenure and Faculty Promotions Announced

Wesleyan is pleased to announce that during its most recent review, the Board awarded tenure to four faculty effective July 1, 2011.

Ulrich Plass

Ulrich Plass, associate professor of German studies, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2004 as assistant professor. Plass is a specialist in German literature, literary criticism, and critical theory, with a particular focus on the works of the German philosopher Theodor Adorno. He conducted his undergraduate studies at the University of Hamburg, Germany; his M.A. is from the University of Michigan,

Bruce Honored for Lifelong Commitment to the Arts

Neely Bruce, professor of music.

Neely Bruce, professor of music, received  an Arts Advocy Award from the Middletown Commission on the Arts on April 4.

Annually, in honor of National Arts Advocacy Day, the Middletown Commission celebrates an individual and a group who have shown extraordinary support and initiative for the arts in the city.

Bruce was granted the individual award for his lifelong commitment to the arts.

Bruce is a composer, conductor, pianist and scholar of American music, past chorus director for Connecticut Opera, and director of music at South Congregational Church.

Gallarotti Guest Speaker on Ebru Tv

Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, speaks on the program, "Fresh Outlook."

On a March 9 episode of Ebru TV‘s “Fresh Outlook,” Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, discussed the premise, “Has the United States, once the leader of the free world, lost its edge?”

The discussion was prompted by recent world events, especially the uprisings in the Middle East, as well as the outcome of last fall’s G-20 Summit.

Ebru TV is a Turkish-based broadcasting network with affiliates throughout the world.

McAlister Speaks on Transnational Icon Wyclef Jean at Invited Conference

Liza McAlister

Liza McAlister, associate professor of religion, African American studies and American studies, joined an invited conference on “Global Oprah: Celebrity as Transnational Icon” Feb. 25-26 at Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. The academic conference aimed to theorize neoliberalism, celebrity and humanitarianism, using Oprah Winfrey as a focusing lens.

The conference consisted of six panel discussions, which examined the way celebrities define America, and the role they play in international human rights and politics.

McAlister presented a paper on Wyclef Jean, a Haitian-born Hip-Hop superstar. She discussed his career trajectory beginning with the Fugees, to his founding a humanitarian foundation, serving as a roaming celebrity ambassador to the UN, to his bid to run for President of Haiti. She examined the ways his celebrity status has translated into political capital in the different yet interconnected contexts of the U.S. and Haiti under the current conditions of neoliberalism.

Faculty Celebrate Authors in the Arts and Humanities

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, standing, makes a toast during the Celebration of Faculty Authors in the Arts and Humanities Feb. 4 in Olin Library’s Smith Reading Room. The event allowed faculty to honor their fellow authors. More than 35 Arts and Humanities faculty have published books since 2008.

Joe Siry, professor of art history, holds the manuscript to his book, “Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture,” which is forthcoming by the University of Chicago Press in 2012. “The book is a history of Wright's work as an architect of buildings for religion, including his churches and his only synagogue, for Beth Sholom Congregation, in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, designed and built from 1953 to 1959, when Wright died,” Siry explains.