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Editorial StaffJuly 26, 20235min
From completing life-saving surgeries, to performing heart-gripping music, to fearlessly swimming the English Channel, the possession of paired appendages (arms and legs) is critical to human achievement. However, paired appendages are not unique to humans. Scientists have long known that human limbs evolved from the paired fins found in fishes, but where the first paired fins came from remains one of the great mysteries in evolutionary biology.    Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Amanda Cass was a co-author of a large, multi-institutional study published in the journal Nature investigating how paired appendages evolved in early vertebrate animals. The study, spearheaded by…

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Steve ScarpaJuly 11, 20239min
A chance encounter with a scarlet tanager, a migratory songbird that travels from North to South America on a yearly basis, prompted Associate Professor of Spanish María Ospina to consider the larger topics of what animals think and feel and, ultimately, how human beings define their own concept of home. Ospina has recently released a novel written in Spanish entitled “Solo un poco aquí,” published by Random House in Latin America, where she explores how animals move across the landscapes that humans transform. Ospina’s novel has been reviewed in Spain’s most important newspaper, El País, by the renown Mexican author Emiliano…

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Steve ScarpaJune 27, 20235min
New research from Assistant Professor of Government Alyx Mark and Tiger Bjornlund ’24 shows that courts with publicly financed elections are viewed as more legitimate and less susceptible to donor influence than those that are selected through privately financed campaigns. The paper, titled “Public Campaign Financing’s Effects on Judicial Legitimacy : Evidence From a Survey Experiment,” was published May 30 in the journal Research and Politics. “There is so much focus on the U.S. Supreme Court, but there are entire other levels of courts that receive less attention that have an impact on our day to day lives,” Mark said. In Spring…

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Mike MavredakisJune 7, 202315min
President Michael S. Roth ’78 wrote a review of an anthology of the late Hayden White’s works titled The Ethics of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory, 1998-2007 for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Roth said White “was a consistently intelligent and engaging postmodern advocate for thinking about history as a form of imaginative reconstruction that could either constrain people or inspire their liberation.” Roth also penned an op-ed in The Boston Globe drawing parallels between education and democracy. “We must be on our guard against those who are afraid of that exploration; we must stand up against…

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Editorial StaffMay 16, 20235min
Associate Professor of the Practice in Letters Charles Barber wrote “In the Blood,” the true story of how an absent-minded inventor and a down-on-his-luck salesman joined forces to create a once‑in‑a‑generation lifesaving product. The book was published in May 2023 by Grand Central Publishing. Giulio Gallarotti, Professor of Government, will release a new book titled “Alternative Paths to Influence: Soft Power and International Politics” in June 2023. The book, which explores the process by which soft power is created, will be published by Routledge. He was also recently named a Senior Fellow at the Global Climate Innovation Center, working with businesses…

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Mike MavredakisMay 3, 202313min
President Michael S. Roth ’78 spoke about “Safe Enough Spaces” and their place in the debate around free speech at a symposium on Speech and Expression on College Campuses at Skidmore College on April 15. President Roth wrote a book review of “The Age of Guilt: The Super Ego in the Online World” by Mark Edmundson for The Washington Post. The book examines online judgementalism through a Freudian lens, Roth writes. He called Edmundson’s writing “engaging” with a “friendly yet incisive” tone. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s The Review newsletter quoted a tweet from Roth in a piece about scholars…

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Mike MavredakisApril 11, 20237min
President Michael S. Roth ’78 authored a review of “Unearthed: A Lost Actress, a Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Meryl Frank for The Wall Street Journal. The memoir details her research into her family’s history and a book inherited from her aunt, Mollie, which depicts the brutal murder of Jewish performers by Nazis—including one of her cousins. Roth told The New Yorker that reading storied texts with specific lens’ geared toward re-affirming your own beliefs is like “shooting fish in a barrel.” He spoke on the topic for a piece on Hillsdale College’s…

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Mike MavredakisApril 11, 20237min
Every time author and Assistant Professor of English Rachel Heng begins a new project, she asks herself, “what are the stakes?” Why is she writing this story? When writing her new novel, The Great Reclamation, she saw her mother reminiscing about former greenscapes converted to tall buildings in her native Singapore. She grew up hearing stories of life before the high-rise filled city she grew up in. “My mother would go to places and say, ‘oh, you know, we used to live here, but I don't really know where it is anymore because they changed all the roads,’” Heng said.…

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Editorial StaffMarch 30, 20234min
Reinhold Blumel, Charlotte Augusta Ayres Professor of Physics, has recently published three papers in the journal Scientific Reports: "Effects of the coupling of dielectric spherical particles on signatures in infrared microspectroscopy;" "Space-resolved chemical information from infrared extinction spectra", and "Domes and Semi-Capsules as Model Systems for Infrared Microspectroscopy of Biological Cells." David Kuenzel, Associate Professor of Economics, published Non-tariff Measures: What's Tariffs Got to Do with It? in the February 2023 issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics. The paper systematically examines the empirical link between various tariff measures and the imposition of non-tariff barriers in WTO member countries. Matthew M. Kurtz, Professor of Psychology, published a piece…

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Editorial StaffMarch 29, 20235min
In a recent article in the journal Regional and Federal Studies James McGuire, Professor of Government, found that Trump's 2020 vote share was a strong and robust predictor of a lower COVID-19 vaccination rate across US states, US counties, and Connecticut towns alike, adjusting for wide range other factors thought to affect the vaccination rate. At each of the three subnational levels, McGuire showed, the Trump 2020 vote share was also correlated more closely than the Trump 2016 vote share or the Romney 2012 vote share with the COVID-19 vaccination rate. McGuire estimated the statistical impact of the Trump 2020…

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Steve ScarpaMarch 22, 20237min
The 2022 midterm elections featured a record volume of television advertising, while, in addition, candidates in federal races spent almost $150 million on digital ads, according to a post-mortem analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project. Late February, the Wesleyan Media Project published two reports on television and digital ad spending in The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. “After all was said and done, and after billions of dollars were spent on political advertising in the 2022 U.S. midterm election campaign, American politics mostly changed on the margins,” according to the Wesleyan Media Project. According to WMP…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 20, 20237min
Assistant Professor of African American Studies Kaisha Esty’s recent article on African American women's and girls’ battle during the Civil War over labor and sexual consent was named winner of the 2022 Letitia Woods Brown Article Prize for the best article in African American women’s history. The prize is awarded by the Association of Black Women Historians. “The shifting legal ground and character of the state that Black women and girls confronted reveals their fraught historical relationship to notions of sexual consent within the framework of Western liberalism. Their strategies speak to the ultimately burdened ways that African American women…