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Editorial StaffMay 9, 20229min
By Maia Dawson '24 A philosophy student writes an essay, pen to paper. He then hands it through the bars of his cell to a passing Corrections Officer. That CO gives it to a liaison, who gives it to a staff person, who gives it to Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan. It’s Spring 2020 and there is no Zoom in Cheshire Correctional Institution. After pandemic hiatuses, Wesleyan's Center for Prison Education (CPE) is planning to return to in-person teaching this summer. The program currently operates in Cheshire and York correctional facilities, both in Connecticut. Gruen has taught…

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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 DrakeJanuary 19, 20215min
“What is the good life?” “What should I value?” “What should I believe?" These are the questions that more than 760 alumni, parents, and friends of the University are exploring this winter as part of a three-part mini-course titled Living a Good Life. Taught by Wesleyan Professors Steven Horst, Stephen Angle, and Tushar Irani, the course gives attendees the chance to participate in activities during each one-hour virtual webinar. Attendance is encouraged for all three classes, but not required. The mini-series is based on Wesleyan's Living a Good Life undergraduate course, piloted during the Fall 2020 semester. The course is…

Editorial StaffMay 19, 20202min
L. Kent Bendall, professor of philosophy, emeritus, died on May 15 at the age of 88. Bendall received his BA from Rice University and his MA and PhD from Yale University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1963, where he taught philosophy until his retirement in 1992. During his 29 years at Wesleyan, Bendall was an integral part of the University and the Philosophy Department. He served many terms as chair of the Education Policy Committee and of the Philosophy Department; he also served as chair of the University Senate and was a member of the planning committee for the new…

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Lauren RubensteinFebruary 13, 20204min
Wesleyan in the News 1. Hartford Courant: "Jeanine Basinger, the 'Professor of Hollywood,' Is Wesleyan University's Homegrown Screen Legend" Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Emerita Jeanine Basinger, whom this article notes has been dubbed “the professor of Hollywood” and “an iconic figure in American cinema, one of the most beloved and respected film history professors in the history of film studies” by The Hollywood Reporter, is interviewed on the occasion of her 60th year at Wesleyan, and the 50th since she created its film program. She talks about her next book on American film comedy, shares some of her favorite things,…

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Lauren RubensteinDecember 2, 20194min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Wesleyan in the News CNN: "What the ‘Woke Student’ and the ‘Welfare Queen’ Have in Common" "Every age seems to need a bogeyman, some negative image against which good people measure themselves," writes President Michael Roth '78 in this op-ed. Roth compares today's bogeyman, the "woke" college student, with those of past eras—the "welfare queen" and "dirty hippie"—and seeks to build understanding and dispel negative misperceptions of activist college students. "The images of the welfare queen and of the woke…

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Lauren RubensteinNovember 14, 20193min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Wesleyan in the News 1. Marketplace Tech: "Twitter Bans Political Ads, But Is That All Good?" Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, is interviewed about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement that the platform would no longer run political ads. Fowler says implementing this ban is likely to be more complicated than it sounds, and she is skeptical that it will help to reduce the impact of disinformation and improve political discourse. Fowler was…

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Cynthia RockwellAugust 13, 20192min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Wesleyan in the News 1. Inside Higher Ed: 'Safe Enough Spaces' President Michael Roth is interviewed about defending free speech, inclusion on campus, and affirmative action, among other topics, in connection with the forthcoming publication of his new book, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist's Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses, due out Aug. 20 from Yale University Press. 2. The New York Times: "The World's Smartest Chimp Has Died" William Griffin Professor of Philosophy Lori Gruen writes in…

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Olivia DrakeJune 24, 20192min
On May 25, members of the Class of 2019 were inducted into Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest national scholastic honor society. The Wesleyan Gamma Chapter was organized in 1845 and is the ninth-oldest chapter in the country. To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by the department of his or her major. The student also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations and must have achieved a GPA of 93 and above. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest surviving Greek letter society in America, founded in December…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 27, 20172min
Lori Gruen, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, is the recipient of a Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Teaching Visiting Professorship at Princeton. Next spring, Gruen will co-teach a course titled the Environmental Nexus at Princeton's Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach. The undergraduate environmental studies course will examine a collection of global environmental crises and address multiple dimensions of these issues, including scientific, political, social and ethical aspects. At Princeton, she will serve as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Center for Human Values. At Wesleyan, Gruen also is professor of science in society; professor of feminist, gender, and…

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Olivia DrakeAugust 3, 20171min
On Aug. 2, Stephen Angle, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of philosophy, together with colleagues at Notre Dame and Fordham, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support a two-week NEH Summer Institute for college and university faculty focusing on the idea of teaching "Philosophy as a Way of Life." Twenty-five faculty from around the country will be invited. The award—worth $137,045—is part of the NEH's recent $39.3 million in grants for 245 humanities projects across the country. The "Reviving Philosophy as a Way of Life: A NEH Summer Institute for…

Lauren RubensteinJune 2, 20165min
Writing in The Washington Post, Lori Gruen, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, argues that fingers are being pointed in the wrong direction after Harambe, an endangered lowland gorilla, was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old child entered his enclosure. "The real culprits are zoos," she writes. Many in the animal protection community contend that the gorilla didn't pose a real threat to the boy, and are questioning if zoo staff did enough to try to separate Harambe from the child. Others are blaming the boy's mother for not properly supervising him. Gruen writes: For me, the real question is…