Jan. 26, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
Because the chairman of the Federal Reserve is often described as the second most powerful person in the country, we should curtail his or her ability to hold onto that job indefinitely for the same reason, argues Professor of Economics Richard Grossman in the Athens Banner-Herald and other newspapers.
In an op-ed circulated by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, he writes: “As Janet Yellen prepares to replace Ben Bernanke at the head of the Federal Reserve and as that institution commences its 100th year of operation, it is time to enact one simple reform: the chairman of the Fed should be limited to serving two full four-year terms.
“The obvious precedent for this measure is the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which imposes a similar term limit on the president of the United States. The president is restricted in this way to prevent one person from accumulating too much power and influence over our national institutions.”
Grossman, who is also a visiting scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, recently published ”Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them.” (Oxford University Press).
Jan. 13, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies Leah Wright is featured in a new PBS ”American Experience” documentary on the year 1964. That year, which saw the Beatles come to America and Cassius Clay become Muhammad Ali, was also when three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. It was the year when Berkeley students rose up in protest, African Americans fought back against injustice in Harlem, and Barry Goldwater’s conservative revolution took over the Republican Party. In myriad ways, 1964 was the year when Americans faced choices: between the liberalism of Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater’s grassroots conservatism, between support or opposition to the civil rights movement, between an embrace of the emerging counterculture or a defense of traditional values.
“This explosive year,” Wright says in the documentary, “(was when) people were forced to say what they mean, mean what they say, and follow up on it.”
The film premieres on PBS stations on Jan. 14. Check local listings for details.
Jan. 11, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel featured a story on recent work by Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem shedding new light on a Nazi general currently honored as an anti-Nazi by the German Federal Armed Forces.
Hans von Sponeck has been celebrated in the post-war era as an example of moral courage, defying orders under difficult circumstances. The general was imprisoned for his refusal to follow Adolf Hitler’s orders in December 1941, saving the lives of many thousands of his soldiers. He was later executed following the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944.
Von Sponeck came to embody the West German military’s ideal of an officer with moral conscience and courage, a concept known in the German military as “innere Fuhrung” or inner leadership, and intended to remedy the problem of blind obedience in the Wehrmacht of the Third Reich.
But Grimmer-Solem’s work, as reported by Der Spiegel, uncovered evidence that von Sponeck was involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the German invasion of the Ukraine in 1941.
The research was originally published in a German scholarly journal and can be read here.
Jan. 9, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
In the lead op-ed in The New York Times Jan. 9, Kennedy Odede’12 described the despair and desperation of growing up in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums. He writes movingly of his childhood friends succumbing to lives of crime and terror as they sought a way out of crushing poverty.
“These are more than singular tragedies; they contribute to the psyche of being poor,” Kennedy writes. “This psyche inculcates hopelessness, dispels a belief in the possibility of tomorrow’s being better than today, compels a resignation to the fact that you may suffer the same tragic fate as your peers, and fuels anger because there is no escape and you did not choose this — you simply drew life’s short straw. This, perhaps, is terrorism’s fertile ground. Because if you grew up as I did, self-protection requires coming to terms with violence and terror. Violence becomes a vehicle of survival. “
Terrorism is bred in places like Kibera, he argues, calling for “new systems of urban promise” in Nairobi and elsewhere.
Odede is the founder of Shining Hope for Communities, and was a 2013 New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Jan. 6, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
Taxes sounded worse than environmental catastrophe in the politics of 2010, but ironically one of the more persuasive arguments that climate change is real—persuasive especially to anti-tax conservatives—is how changing, unpredictable and severe weather is increasingly exacting a tax on all aspects of life in America. On the WNYC’s “The Takeaway”, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Gary Yohe explored the unseen costs of climate change.
Jan. 6, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
Wesleyan junior Lily Myers stunned an audience and won slam honors last winter break with her heartbreaking, funny and authentic poem “Shrinking Women.” The poem, which expresses Myers’ frustrations about family dynamics involving gender, body image, and food, has now attracted more than three million views on YouTube.
The Chronicle of Higher Education posted the video this week on its Say Something podcast.
Jan. 2, 2014 by Kate Carlisle
A story by the Associated Press says that Wesleyan has joined a growing list of Connecticut universities and colleges offering for-credit courses during winter break. During the initial year, four classes are being offered, in foreign policy, data analysis, computer programming and the graphic novel. About 45 students have signed up, according to Jennifer Curran, the interim director for continuing studies.
Tom Dupont, 18, a freshman from Cheshire, Conn., is taking the foreign policy course. His class meets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day with an hourlong break at noon.
“I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity I have to get ahead,” he said. “I also want to get as many major credits as I can, and it will allow me to explore in depth something that I’m really, really interested in.”
Curran said that while some students, like Dupont, want to get ahead in their major, others just like the more leisurely pace of winter at Wesleyan, which allows for greater concentration on academics.
“They like the idea of smaller classes, a calmer campus where they can really focus on their classwork,” she said. “Students are usually involved in activities and performances and taking multiple classes. There is something so satisfying about delving into one single topic and focusing really hard.”
Dec. 31, 2013 by Kate Carlisle
On C-SPAN, Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk discusses the history of religious intolerance in America, arguing that it’s been a strong – even violent – force in U.S. society and politics since the middle of the 19th century.
Gottschalk’s new book American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims and the History of Religious Intolerance asserts that many religious groups have been persecuted throughout our nation’s history, sometimes by the very government that is charged with protecting them.
Gottschalk spoke with Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein on C-SPAN’s After Words program, which will be re-aired on Jan. 5. His work has been published in The Post’s On Faith blog, and he was the co-author of Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy.
Dec. 16, 2013 by Kate Carlisle
Shining Hope for Communities, founded by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09 is featured in a new documentary: Give It All Away: Newman’s Own Recipe for Success, a new CPTV Original program premiering Tuesday, December 17 at 8 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). The documentary, which looks at actor Paul Newman’s extraordinary record of philanthropy, interviews Professor of Sociology Rob Rosenthal as well as Odede and Posner.
The e half-hour documentary chronicles the path of the Newman’s Own Foundation food company – the highly regarded brainchild of Paul Newman – as it has evolved and provided millions of dollars for a variety of charities .
SHOFCO is one of several nonprofits that have benefited from the generosity of Newman’s Own Foundation.
Dec. 13, 2013 by Bill Holder
The following message was sent to Wesleyan students:
As you may know, there is a winter storm forecast for Connecticut on Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning. We know that most students will have completed exams and will be able to leave campus prior to the beginning of the storm. For those students whose travel plans are impacted by the storm, we are extending the closing time for University housing until Monday, December 16, at noon.
The Usdan marketplace will be open for brunch and dinner on Saturday as well as breakfast from 10am-noon on Sunday. Weshop will be open from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday. If you think your departure from campus may be delayed, we encourage you to plan ahead by getting to Weshop before the storm as the dining halls will not be open after Sunday at noon.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Wishing you safe travels and a good break.
The Residential Life Staff