Dean of the Arts and Humanities and Director of Curricular Initiatives Andrew Curran spoke to NPR’s Weekend Edition about Denis Diderot, on the 18th century French philosopher’s 300th birthday. Curran said Diderot’s Encyclopedie, with over 20,000 copies in print, were among the most widely distributed and influential books of the era. “Commercially the encyclopedia did extremely well. Diderot himself made very little money off the whole project, but the publishers became extremely rich.”
Curran is also professor of French.
Writing in The Hartford Courant, Professor of Economics Richard Grossman agrees with President Barack Obama’s accusation that the Republicans are on an “ideological crusade” by refusing to pass a continuing budget resolution unless substantial changes are made to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Republicans’ tactics are costly and ignorant of political reality, Grossman writes. Pointing to examples as diverse as the 19th century Irish famine and Japan’s refusal to confront its ailing banks in the 1990s, Grossman writes: “Republicans should take a lesson from history, which has shown time and time again that such ideological crusades, when applied to economic policy, can have disastrous consequences.”
The Hartford Courant has published a profile of Amanda Belichick ’07, who returned to Wesleyan this fall as interim women’s lacrosse coach. Though, after graduating from Wesleyan with a history degree, she imagined leaving athletics behind for a career in education, Belichick ultimately followed in the coaching footsteps of her father, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ’75.
“To have the opportunity to lead something you care so much about is exciting,” Amanda Belichick said. “I have a lot of respect and pride in this program. I think the most important thing is that I had an incredible four years here. It’s really important for me to give the players the same incredible experience.”
WGBH published an op-ed by President Michael S. Roth on its “On Campus” higher education blog about the link between diversity on college campuses and economic inequality in society.
“Highly selective colleges and universities should accelerate their efforts to recruit students of extraordinary potential from diverse economic backgrounds, meeting the financial needs of students without requiring excessive borrowing. These institutions must redouble their efforts to ensure that all students are fully included in the campus culture, that students from different social classes really interact…” writes Roth. “At a time when economic inequality is tearing at the fabric of our country, we must create conditions of inclusion through which all can thrive.”
Gary Yohe, Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, professor of economics, professor of environmental studies, spoke to The CT Mirror about a newly released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report showed stronger evidence than ever before that climate change is caused by human activity, and recommended an upper limit for carbon emissions. Yohe has been active in the IPCC since the early 1990′s. He is a member of Working Group II, which will release its report in March 2014 on the consequences of climate change.
Sep. 26, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Writing for McClatchy newspapers, Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies Magda Teter takes Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to task for his inaccurate representation of history in his fight to defund the Affordable Care Act. Cruz’s comparison of inaction against “Obamacare” to Britain’s response to Nazi Germany in the 1940s was not only “outrageous” but “inaccurate,” writes Teter. As a second example of the danger of historical ignorance, she points to AIG CEO Robert Benmosche’s statements comparing the 2008 public uproar against bonuses for financial services executives to lynchings in the South.
Both statements “demonstrate clearly that knowledge of history and the perspective of the humanities should be essential elements of good citizenship. Citizens knowledgeable about history would not only find such comments distasteful; they would be able to marginalize people who utter them, instead of lionizing them for their courage to speak ‘until (they) can’t stand anymore.’”
Teter is also professor of history, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and professor of medieval studies.
Sep. 19, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Joyce Jacobsen, dean of the social sciences and director of global initiatives, Andrews Professor of Economics, has received much media attention for a campaign she helped spearhead to have Janet Yellen appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve. She co-authored a letter that has now been signed by more than 500 economists.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Jacobsen explains: “The depth of [Yellen's] understanding about what’s going on, both with the current macroeconomy–which has come out clearly in both her writings and her speeches–and her understanding of how modern labor markets work, has been really critical in determining my support for her.”
“I felt it was important at this phase that the profession really weigh in in force on this, the many economists who really do have a strong opinion about this, and that the White House was aware that academic economists–the great majority of them… really are backing Yellen for this position,” she added.
The campaign also was covered in the Associated Press and on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
Sep. 16, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
The Hartford Courant published an op-ed by Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, breaking down President Barack Obama’s recent address to the nation on Syria. The president’s argument for a military strike on Syria was based on a flawed domino theory–one similar to the “destructive and costly strategy of containment during the Cold War,” writes Gallarotti. He urges leaders to resist the allure of simple political theories, and instead focus on the specific situation and context of the Syrian conflict.
Sep. 13, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, was interviewed by New England Public Radio for a story about President Barack Obama’s frosty relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the two countries try to reach deal regarding Syria’s chemical weapons.
“Putin has been from the very beginning saying to America, ‘You’re overreaching, you don’t understand the Arab world, stop it,’” said Rutland.
Of disparaging statements Obama has made about Putin, Rutland said: ”It was diplomatically incredibly clumsy, because obviously Putin would react badly to that…The relationship was dead on arrival, the personal relationship.”
Rutland is also professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European Studies, and a tutor in the College of Social Studies.
Sep. 12, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Leah Wright, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of African American studies, participated in a discussion on WNPR’s “Where We Live” about racism in Connecticut and New England in light of a recent incident in which comedian Dave Chappelle was heckled at a performance in Hartford.
“Connecticut represents a paradox. We are one of the bluest states in the country, we are extremely progressive on a number of fronts, but on the other hand, we really have a problem when it comes to talking about race and dealing with race,” said Wright. “I think part of this has to do with the way in which Connecticut is set up. Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the state but it’s also surrounded by extreme wealth. It’s also highly segregated. So the city is predominantly black and Latino, whereas it’s surrounded by suburbs that are predominantly white. This creates very interesting dynamics. It also has a very interesting and important history, and all of that really played out in the Dave Chappelle incident, and how the media has been talking about the Dave Chappelle incident.”