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Steve ScarpaJanuary 3, 20238min
Are you already able to sing Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ‘15’s Hamilton word for word? Have you already binged Bradley Whitford ’81, Hon. ’20 in “The West Wing” and “A Handmaid’s Tale"? Have you read all of Amy Bloom’s books? So now where do you go next to get your Wesleyan creative fix? As winter curls around us, Wes grads and faculty have conjured a new batch of books, music, performances, and television shows to delight and challenge us as we get cozy over the chilly months. Here’s just a small sampling: “From Scratch” Tembe Locke ’92’s powerful memoir From…

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Jeff HarderNovember 22, 20225min
Forget the Christmas ham and the Fourth of July hot dog: there’s no ordinary-meal-turned-American-holiday-icon quite like the Thanksgiving turkey. In addition to adorning parade floats and being rendered via crayons and children’s splayed hands, turkey is expected to be at the center of the table for 85 percent of Thanksgiving celebrations this year. But turkey wasn’t the main course when the Wampanoags and Pilgrims convened for their legendary feast in 1621. In fact, it’s unclear whether it was on the menu at all: many experts believe fowl like duck, goose, or passenger pigeons were likelier complements to a feast that…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 11, 20225min
A new Jewett Center for Community Partnerships project hopes to encourage young people to see themselves as not just bystanders to the historical events shaping our world, but as having an important perspective on it worth preserving. The project, called “We Make History,” collects the personal expressions of Wesleyan students and local young people about the landmark events of the last several years, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. The students’ submissions, which could be pieces of writing, artwork, or video and audio recordings, will be archived at Olin Library and the Middlesex County Historical…

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Lauren RubensteinSeptember 26, 20171min
Assistant Professor of History Victoria Smolkin was recently a guest on BBC Radio 4's "Beyond Belief" to discuss Soviet state atheism. Smolkin said that Lenin's conviction that banishing religion was necessary to create a revolutionary society was right ideologically, but wrong politically. "If they wanted to stay in power, they needed to accommodate religion, and they understood that," she said. "However, if they wanted to build a Communist society, ultimately religion had to go." (more…)

Lauren RubensteinFebruary 21, 20173min
The pseudoscientific myths about love and sexuality that abounded in the Victorian era, many of which seem "cruel and oppressive" by today's standards, could also offer women relief from the era's "rigid gender politics," according to Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker, who comments on the topic for a Broadly article. For much of the 19th century, the Western world was fascinated with a variety of pseudosciences, or theories that lack a basis in the scientific method. "Definitions of science were malleable and hotly contested in the 19th century," said Tucker, who is also associate professor of science in society, associate professor…

Lauren RubensteinMay 24, 20168min
In its recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure on four faculty members. They are Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, Professor of African American Studies Kali Gross, Associate Professor of English and American Studies Amy Tang, and Associate Professor of Chemistry Erika Taylor. They join eight other faculty members who were awarded tenure earlier this spring. One faculty member, Louise Neary, was promoted to adjunct associate professor of Spanish. In addition, six faculty members are being promoted to full professor: J. Kehaulani Kauanui, professor of American Studies and anthropology Matthew Kurtz, professor of psychology Cecilia Miller, professor of…

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Lauren RubensteinApril 25, 20165min
Wesleyan's Van Vleck Observatory is celebrating its centennial this spring, with a series of events and an exhibition beginning in early May. On May 6, the observatory's library will reopen to the public with an exhibition on the history of astronomy at Van Vleck. Developed by a team of faculty, students, and staff, the exhibition will use the observatory's extensive collection of scientific instruments, teaching materials, photographs, drawings, and correspondence to illustrate both the changes in astronomical research and teaching over the past century, and the observatory's consistent mission of conducting instruction and research under the same roof. The exhibition will…

Lauren RubensteinJanuary 28, 20162min
  The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life will host a series of three panels in February and March on the refugee crisis. All events will take place in PAC 001. The first panel, The Development of the Crisis and the Response in Europe, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 3. Moderated by Professor of Economics Richard Grossman, the panel is comprised of Bruce Masters, the John E. Andrus Professor of History; Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador to Syria; and Marcie Patton, professor of politics at Fairfield University. The second panel, The Refugee Experience, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 17. Moderated by…

Lauren RubensteinDecember 21, 20152min
A hundred years ago, Christmas in Russia looked a lot like Christmas in America, with trees, presents and twinkling lights. All that changed with the Russian revolution, Assistant Professor of History Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock told NPR in an interview about the history of the Yolka, or New Year's tree. "The tree comes to be seen as a symbol of both the bourgeois order, which is one kind of class enemy, and of religion in particular, which is another kind of class enemy," explains Smolkin-Rothrock. "There are very explicit statements that essentially unmask the Christmas tree for the class symbol that it is. It becomes clear that one does not…

Lauren RubensteinOctober 6, 20154min
Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker is the co-author of an op-ed in the Boston Globe titled, "What the Clean Air Act can teach us about reducing gun violence." Tucker and co-author Matthew Miller of Northeastern University write, "The recent scandal over Volkswagen’s polluting engines vividly illustrates the contrast between the way Americans, and in particular elected officials, treat guns and the way we (and our elected officials) treat cars — both of which kill approximately 32,000 Americans every year." The Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, has averted tens of thousands of premature deaths though "a systematic and scientific approach to…

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Lauren RubensteinJuly 14, 20152min
Two Wesleyan faculty members presented talks at the 14th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia, held in Paris, July 6-10. On July 7, Miri Nakamura, associate professor of East Asian studies, read from a paper titled "Atomic Maids," which focused on the role of Japanese housekeepers in mystery novels that were indirect criticisms of nuclear issues. On July 9, Bill Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian studies, professor of Science in Society, professor of environmental studies, spoke about the changing role of the environment in ideas about disease causation in 19th century Japan. The conference is held every four…