Tag Archive for Religion

Jewish Community Celebrates Holiday in Student-Designed WesSukkah

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

WesSukkah, designed and built by Wesleyan's Architecture II research-design-build studio, is constructed with 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. The Wesleyan community is invited to the WesSukkah dedication at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on Foss Hill.

Every October, Wesleyan’s Jewish community dwells in a temporary structure built for the festival of Sukkot. For eight days, students study, socialize, mediate, eat, host events and occasionally sleep in the religious building.

This holiday, the Jewish students will celebrate the Israelites 40-year journey to the Holy Land inside an airy, five-mound curving structure of carbon-steel clad in bamboo. Designed by 15 students enrolled in Architecture II, a research-design-build studio, the “WesSukkah” provides a sacred space that adheres to a complex, medieval Rabbinic building code.

“The students have crafted something which is both compelling and meaningful for Wesleyan’s campus,” explains the studio’s instructor, Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. “The structure maintains its symbolic and literal connection to the broader landscape through its materiality and permeability.”

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

WesSukkah was honored with a 2009 "Faith and Form" Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects. (Photo by Gideon Finck '11)

The students designed WesSukkah with 1,600 culms of bamboo, 46 high carbon steel pipes, six steel rods, five spools of monofilament test line and steel rebar. The structure will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 on the top of Foss Hill.

The final design is a result of an intensive sequence of research, design, fabrication phases and client presentations.

Initially, the project clients,

McAlister and Ulysse Discuss Haiti, Vodou

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion, associate professor of African American studies, and Gina Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of feminist gender and sexuality studies, were featured guests on the Sept. 11 Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR. The 49-minute show titled “CMS: Hatian Vodou and Zombies Too!” focused on the practices of Vodou and how it affects so many aspects of Haitian culture.

McAlister Essay Selected for Prominent American Studies Book

Liza McAlister's essay is featured in the book American Studies.

Liza McAlister's essay is featured in the book American Studies.

An essay titled “The Madonna of 115th Street Revisited: Vodou and Haitian Catholicism in the Age of Transnationalism,” by Liza McAlister, associate professor of religion, associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of American studies, has been selected as a “key essay” in the book, American Studies: An Anthology. American Studies is a vigorous, bold account of the changes in the field of American studies over the last 35 years. Through this set of carefully selected key essays by an editorial board of expert scholars, the book demonstrates how changes in the field have produced new genealogies that tell different histories of both America and the study of America. American Studies is edited by Janice Radway.

Willis Honored for Efforts with Buddhist Nuns

Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies, meets with three Buddhist nuns in Ladakh, India. Willis was honored as a "Outstanding Woman in Buddhism" recently for making an "exceptional contribution to Buddhism."

Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies, meets with three Buddhist nuns in Ladakh, India. Willis was honored as a "Outstanding Woman in Buddhism" recently for making an "exceptional contribution to Buddhism."

In the sparsely populated, mountainous region of Ladakh, India, elderly Buddhist nuns are suffering from isolation, illiteracy and lack of respect from their communities. These women, who spent their lives serving their family or working as laborers, have rarely had the opportunity to become ordained or to worship in a monastery like the highly regarded male monks.

“These women have been devalued from the beginning,” says Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies. “All they’ve ever wanted to do is serve the dharma and study, but instead, they’ve become servants of their community, or helpers for the monks.”

Jan Willis

Jan Willis

Willis, who has devoted part of the last seven years to helping a group of elderly Ladakhi nuns, is being honored as an “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism” for the year 2009 for making an “exceptional contribution to Buddhism.”