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
“Encyclopedic in scope, but thankfully not in structure, The Movie Musicals! is a downright delightful read,” this NPR review of Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Emerita, Jeanine Basinger’s new book proclaims. The Movie Musicals! truly “dazzles” for its insight into the roles these films have played over the 20th century and into the 21st, the review states, noting, “And throughout the hefty volume, Basinger addresses—both directly and indirectly—the essential question at the heart of musicals: What compels us to suspend disbelief and accept, if not wholly enjoy, the fantastical idea of people spontaneously breaking into song? What does this sorcery say about the immersiveness of film, and the power of song, and the mechanism of the human imagination?”
2. BBC: “Galileo’s Lost Letter”
Professor of Religion Mary-Jane Rubenstein is interviewed on “Discovery” from the BBC about the historical conflict between religion and science. “The notion that religion is somehow a backward, authoritarian, anti-rational opponent to science really comes at the end of the 19th century,” she says. There is a misperception that science and religious belief have to always be in conflict, but in actuality, Rubenstein says, it is “a battle between Protestants and Catholics that gets grafted onto and renewed as some sort of dispute between the secular and the religious.” Rubenstein comes in around 15:44 minutes.
3. PBS Newshour: “Why Haitians Say They Won’t Stop Protesting”
Professor of Anthropology Gina Athena Ulysse spoke to PBS Newshour for a story on protests in Haiti, which have been going on for more than a year as dissidents demand an end to systemic corruption in the country. “We cannot frame this as only, ‘Haiti is in crisis.’ All of Latin America is in crisis, and in fact the resistance itself is a global phenomenon that has been led by Haiti for quite some time,” she said.
4. Capital Allocators Podcast: “Anne Martin: Pulling the Oars as CIO of Wesleyan University”
Chief Investment Officer Anne Martin speaks about her path from competitive rowing to the tech world to endowment management at Yale and now at Wesleyan. Martin shares lessons she’s learned along the way.
5. Kirkus: “Best Nonfiction of 2019 by Category”
Kirkus Reviews has selected Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely by Andrew Curran, professor of French, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities, as one of its “Best Biographies of 2019.” A “lively biography” of Denis Diderot, Kirkus calls the book “an intellectually dense and well-researched yet brisk journey into one of history’s most persuasive dissenters.” Read more about the book in this Connection article.
On December 17, seven women incarcerated at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., were awarded associate’s degrees from Middlesex Community College through its partnership with the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education (CPE). The article profiles one graduate, who spoke at the ceremony and described how the program helped her to overcome earlier struggles in her life and build self-esteem. “It opens up so much more,” she said. Lori Gruen, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, who teaches in the prison program, said: “The Center for Prison Education has grown so much in the last year. It’s been exciting. Teaching and motivating is what most of us dreamed about when we went into the field.”
Alumni in the News
1. Forbes: “30 Under 30 Class of 2020”
The listing includes Evan Weber ’13, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, in the Law and Policy category, and Catherine Taibi ’13, who launched QuickTake by Bloomberg (formerly TicToc), in the Media category.
2. Rolling Stone: “So How Was Your Decade, Lin-Manuel Miranda [’02, Hon.’15]?”
Jon Blistein writes, “Lin-Manuel Miranda began the 2010s as a darling of the theater world and will end it as a darling of, well, pop culture as a whole.” This Q&A format is part of a series in which key musicians of the last decade consider the people and events that figured prominently in their experience of the last 10 years.
3. Lion’s Roar: “Connecting Young People to Deep Practice”
In this first-person piece by Aaron Stryker ’19, he recounts the story of the anxiety that led him to explore Buddhism and find peace in contemplative practice. He offers instruction in this approach to college students through Dharma Gates, the nonprofit he founded.
4. Stanford Medicine Scope Blog: In the Spotlight: “When You’re in a Minority, You’re Never Just a Grad Student”
Eva Valenti profiles Carolyn Dundes ’17, a doctoral student in Stanford’s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine program, who is also an LGBTQ community advocate. Dundes recalls working in the lab of Prof. Laura Grabel, and discusses their own current work and advocacy commitments. “As a nonbinary scientist, running Trans& has been an important way for me to connect with other gender-minority peers at Stanford,” they say.
5. Los Angeles Times: Scott Timberg [’90], Spirited Listener, Reader and Writer, Is Dead at 50
Scott Timberg ’91, former culture editor of the Los Angeles Times and the author of the 2015 book Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class,” died Dec. 10, 2019, a victim of suicide. Through their pain, his family—along with his community of writers, journalists, and musicians—remember him with admiration. His brother, Craig Timberg, wrote in a message to friends, “His death by suicide shocked us all while also silencing a voice of tremendous insight and eloquence about so, so many things that he loved.”