Category Archives: Classes

Cracking Open a Pecan

This fall, I taught a student forum through the American Studies department called “Critical Perspectives on Texas.” Historically Texas has served as a site of settler colonialism, racial domination, strict reification of gender roles and repressive sexuality, and economic importance with its oil and agricultural industries.

To name a few topics, the class examined: Texas’s modern-day electoral politics in sociohistorical context; intersectional feminist border studies and the Drug War; health care disparities, race, and climate change in Houston; gentrification and segregation in Austin; the legacy of plantation slavery in the influential Texas prison system; cowboy culture and the myth of the frontier; and indigenous resistance to the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

I grew up in Austin, Texas, and as an American Studies major, a growing activist, and someone who has become obsessed with regionalism since coming to Wesleyan, teaching this forum was a way for me to better understand my home and to help other students learn about the state through a critical lens. I wrote this piece, “Cracking Open a Pecan,” as a final project for our last day of class:

All Campus Email: Changes in Course Re-Take and Incomplete Policies

As #FinalsSzn rapidly approaches/has already begun for many of us, Wesleyan has implemented some new policies which may impact how you address academic challenges this semester and in the future.

This afternoon, Dean for Academic Advancement Louise Brown in Student Affairs sent out an email detailing some changes to academic policies. If you haven’t been keeping a close eye on WSA agendas and committee reports (which are emailed out to the student body prior to weekly Sunday night meetings), you may have been caught off-guard by these seemingly sudden changes to policies that many students don’t even know exist. I do read all the WSA emails (bc I’m a big dork and like to look for fun things to report about), so I was vaguely aware of the new re-take policy, but I had no idea that the incomplete policy was changing.

Here’s a breakdown of what changed, what didn’t, and what it means for students and professors:

WarGames (1983)

Check out this event tomorrow:

A screening of the Cold War sci fi WarGames (1983), featuring a very young Matthew Broderick as a computer nerd who nearly triggers World War III when he mistakenly hacks into a NORAD supercomputer simulation. Associated with HIST/SISP/ENVS 387: The History of the End.

Date: Tuesday, November 13
Time: 7:10 PM
Place: Powell Cinema

Apply to Writing and Drawing Comics!

From Professor Katzenstein:

Apply to Writing and Drawing Comics!

This is an intensive workshop course for students interested in making comics. We will read comic strips and books that vary widely in genre and style, and learn to identify and emulate cartooning techniques.

There will be short weekly exercises to get students comfortable working with words and images: single panel cartoons, four panel comic strips, a “master’s copy” of another cartoonist’s work. Students will make a 5-10 page comic for their midterm, and a 10-20 page comic for their final.

The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, November 16! To apply for this course students should submit an example of work that includes both words and images, 2-5 pages in length to jason.adam.katzenstein[at]gmail[dot]com. In person interviews will take place on Thursday, November 8 on campus, but Skype interviews can also be arranged.

Date: Friday, November 16
Time: 5 PM

Ask Wesleying: Withdrawing and Worried

Welcome to the second installment of Ask Wesleying, an advice column about any and all things Wes! Have a question about life at Wes? Submit it to get it answered in Ask Wesleying! You can find all of the Ask Wesleying columns here.

This week’s question is about withdrawing from a class after drop-add ends:

Dear Wesleying,

Is it a bad idea to drop a course in my first semester? Will it be hard to catch up on credits? Will it look bad?

Sincerely,
Withdrawing and Worried

You can read the answer to this week’s question below the jump!

LIVEBLOG: Zach is Back! (And Hermes is Teaching!)

Ever since Lily Herman ’16 (aka hermes) announced that she would be teaching a course called “It’s a Mess”: An Academic and Practical Look at Digital Media in the Late 2010s this fall, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the course’s treatment of our very own digital media of the late 2010s (and earlier): Wesleying.org!

Tonight, Zach Schonfeld ’13 (aka Zach) is guest-lecturing for Lily’s class on the topic “The Role of Campus Media,” and in typical Wesleying fashion, we’ll be liveblogging it! Read below the jump for a window into the fun!

Emily Johnson/Catalyst: Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter

From the the Center for the Humanities, the Center for the Arts, and the Indigenous Studies Research Network (ISRN):

Join us by the fire for a gathering hosted by Emily Johnson/Catalyst that centers around Indigenous protocols and knowledges, as we welcome the evening with our campus community and neighbors. Come sit and gaze at the stars, and share stories, conversation and food (bring food to share if you wish—hot apple cider will be provided). Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter is a community gathering. It is a way of being and a way of making. It is research and process as ceremony. It is dance. Come join us.

Rain Location: Beckham Hall (no fire)

Kinstillatory Mappings is co-hosted by the Center for the Humanities, the Center for the Arts, and the Indigenous Studies Research Network (ISRN). It was created with funding from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award she is based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future. Emily’s written work has been published and commissioned by Dance Research Journal(University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal,University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the recent compilation Imagine d Theaters (Routledge), edited by Daniel Sack.

Her choreography is presented across the United States and Australia and most recently at Santa Fe Opera with Doctor Atomic, directed by Peter Sellars. Emily is a lead collaborator in the Indigenous-artist led Healing Place Collaborative (Minneapolis, MN), focused on the vital role of the Mississippi River in the life of residents along its path; she was an inaugural participant in the Headlands Center for the Arts’ Climate Change Residency, a member of Creative Change at Sundance, and served as a water protector at Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. As a facilitator she has worked with artists and communities most notably during TIME PLACE SPACE, NOMAD in Wotjobaluk Country, Australia and during UMYUANGVIGKAQ with PS122 on Manhahtaan in Lenapehoking, a durational Long Table/Sewing Bee focused on indigenizing the performing arts and the world at large.

Her most recent work, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars—an all night outdoor performance gathering taking place on and near eighty-four community-hand-made quilts—premiered in Lenapehoking (NYC) with PS122 on Randall’s Island in summer 2017 and will tour to Chicago, San Francisco, and Narrm (Melbourne), Australia. Currently, she hosts monthly bonfires on the Lower East Side in Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Art Center and is, with colleagues in Australia and Canada, developing a Global First Nations Performance Network.

Date: Tuesday, October 9
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM
Place: CFA Courtyard (Rain Location: Beckham Hall)
Facebook Event

Lila Abu-Lughod, “Framing Islam: ‘Violent Extremism’ and the Rise of Securofeminism”

Professor Margot Weiss, Chair of the Anthropology Department writes in:

Please join us on Thursday for the Anthropology Annual Lecture with Lila Abu-Lughod, feminist anthropologist and premiere scholar of gender, Islam, global feminism, and Middle East politics.

In this talk, she will be sharing new work on the dangerous collusion between international women’s rights advocates and the global security enterprise called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

Check out Lila Abu-Lughod speaking with the New York Times about the gap between popular Western beliefs about “Muslim women” and the reality: https://www.nytimes.com/video/books/review/100000002617743/the-read-around-lila-abu-lughod.html

Lila Abu-Lughod is the Joseph L. Buttenweiser Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University and the author of seven books including Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society, Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt, and Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory.

Date: Thursday, October 11
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Shanklin 107
Facebook Event

Theory Certificate presents “The Illusion of Equality”

From Professor Matthew Garrett:

The Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory presents:
“The Illusion of Equality in Kantian Cosmopolitanism”

Jameliah Bournahou (Georgia College and College of the Holy Cross)

This talk is co-sponsored by the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

Some scholars argue that Kant is universally egalitarian because in the essay “Toward Perpetual Peace” (1795), Kant offers new provisions that displace the racist views that he previously held in the essays on race of the 1780s. This argument presumes that Kant’s cosmopolitan philosophy is synonymous with universal egalitarianism because it is understood to be opposed to inequality. Professor Bournahou argues that Kant’s cosmopolitan philosophy is not universally egalitarian and in fact allows for inequality. Bournahou refers to a lesser recognized discussion Kant has in “Toward Perpetual Peace” where he argues that the cosmopolitan goal is to unify the nations and not the moral improvement of the species which would presumably establish universal egalitarianism.

Date: Tuesday, October 2
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
PlaceDowney 113

Olin Thesis Carrel Assignments Emailed Out

This post mostly concerns the senior thesis writers among us (and their current or future paramours who may be interested in hooking up in a thesis carrel this year).

Thanks to an anonymous tipbox contribution (and many of my classmates who gleefully announced they got a carrel) we now know that Olin thesis carrel assignments were emailed out this afternoon.

Unlike in previous years when a list of carrel assignments and the waiting list were posted only as a sheet of paper in Olin, this year’s lucky carrel recipients received individual emails alerting them of carrel assignments, while those who didn’t get a carrel (aka me) have yet to hear anything official (email after the jump).