Ahead of the publication of his new book, WRONG: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn From Them, Professor of Economics Richard Grossman talked with The Boston Globe’s Ideas section. They discussed the book, Grossman’s Guggenheim Fellowship, and a number of current economic issues, from the Obama administration’s economic policy to bank bailouts to the threat to the Euro.
After the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were identified as being Chechen, Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, spoke on WNPR’s “Where We Live” to offer a deeper understanding of the recent history between Russia and Chechnya, and what it might tell us about the bombing suspects.
Rutland said: “After the second Chechen war, which took place in the year 2000, President Putin gave power to a local Islamist leader… Right now, Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation, it’s ruled by Chechens, it’s out of the direct control of Moscow, and the leaders there are fairly devout Muslims. The terrorism inside Chechnya has been shut down. What happened was that more extremist groups, some of them with ties to Al Qaeda, fled Chechnya and started terrorist actions in neighboring parts of the Russian Federation, and also set off bombs in Moscow in the period of 2009 to 2011. So there are some of these fringe Chechnyan groups that are out there on their own, while the mainstream Chechen nationalist and Islamist movement is now cooperating with Moscow and there’s not much terrorism inside Chechnya itself anymore.”
(Rutland starts speaking around 26 minutes).
Leah Wright, professor of history, professor of African American studies, wrote a guest post on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Tenured Radical” blog about Senator Rand Paul’s recent visit to the historically black Howard University. Though the visit was lampooned in the press “as a silly effort given the history of African Americans and the Republican Party,” Wright says Paul’s attempt at outreach to the black community was not a bad idea. But for it to receive a positive response, he would need to re-package his message and approach, and take black voters much more seriously.
The Hartford Courant featured the work being done by the Wesleyan-based group Brighter Dawns to improve sanitation in Bangladesh. Though the group’s core members graduated from Wesleyan last year, the group continues to thrive on campus and alumni and current students work together to raise funds and awareness. Its focus has shifted from installing wells and latrines to maintaining the existing facilities.
The Wall Street Journal published an enthusiastic review of “The Story Until Now,” Kit Reed’s new collection of stories. The collection “reminds us that although she has been writing award-winning fiction for some 50 years, she’s still accelerating. The scope of these 35 stories is immense, their variety unmatched,” the review states.
Reed is a resident writer in the English Department.
Though he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1985, Wesleyan alumnus Jonathan Haber is on a mission to earn a BA in philosophy through taking MOOCs (massive open online courses), according to The Boston Globe. He plans to enroll in 32 MOOCs in one year, and has already completed his “freshman year.” One of his courses is President Michael Roth’s The Modern and the Postmodern on Coursera.
Dr. Peggy Drexler, a researcher and mother, wrote in The Huffington Post about the ongoing public debate over women balancing family and work. In honor of National Poetry Month, she presented a selection of poems on the topic, including one from Elizabeth Willis, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, professor of English, titled, “January.”
The Hartford Courant featured research being conducted by John Seamon, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. Seamon is exploring how “memory cameras,” which are worn around a patient’s neck and automatically snap a photo about every 30 seconds, may help patients remember more of their lives.
During the Supreme Court’s recent hearings on same-sex marriage cases, some justices expressed concern that because same-sex marriage is so new, we don’t yet know its long-term impact on families and society. But in an op-ed in The Hartford Courant, Mariah Schug challenges these assertions, pointing out that the justices failed to look outside the U.S. Citing her own research and that of other academics, Schug points to examples in countries around the world, which demonstrate that gay marriage has not led to a devaluation of the institution of marriage, nor has it harmed children raised by same-sex couples.
Schug is a visiting assistant professor of psychology.
Laura Grabel, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science in Society, professor of biology, was a guest on WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show on the eve of Connecticut’s annual stem cell research conference, StemCONN, on April 3. Grabel said the Connecticut Stem Cell Initiative has made us “world leaders in the arena of stem cell research, someplace we really weren’t seven or eight years ago.” In addition to the basic stem cell research being done, there are a number of researchers working to make stem cells that will someday be useful in clinical applications. For example, at Wesleyan, Grabel and her colleagues have been working on models of temporal lobe epilepsy, in which there is a loss of a particular type of inhibitory cell in the brain. “Our goal is to learn how to make that inhibitory cell from embryonic stem cells, transplant those cells into mouse models of temporal lobe epilepsy, and see if the cells can become the right kind of neuron in the brain, and if they can serve the same function that those inhibitory neurons serve” in the brain.