We’re here for you, avoiding our own work so that you can procrastinate with us.
Welcome to Part One of Procrastination Destination: Spring ’15 edition! In less than three hours, reading period will end, and we’re basically all screwed. But, if you need something to tide yourself over before the Primal Scream tonight, we’ve got you covered.
YouTube videos about Wesleyan extend to more than just “Party on Fountain” and “How To Do The Michael Roth.” Click through for six more weird/terrible YouTube videos by Wesleyan kids/admins of the past and present.
Pre-reg starts this Monday, and if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t touch that shit with a ten-foot pole. For many Wesleyan students, myself not among them, course registration is a time of thoughtful reflection on academic challenges past and eager preparation for those still to come, none of which I will be performing ever again. As another spring semester draws to its bittersweet close, many of you have begun to think about the mark you want to leave on this university, setting goals I never achieved and making plans to earn a degree that will almost definitely not get me a job. There’s no telling what the future holds, but one thing’s for certain, and that’s my presence anywhere other than this campus.
The registrar recently announced the redesign of a course selection system I can say with utmost certainty I will never use again. It features a new planning page with separate categories for POI requests, courses ranked for scheduling, courses you’re somehow already registered in, and all the classes you would take if you had the guts to pursue your art instead of playing it safe with that Econ major. Students can rank courses in a single column rather than the utterly perplexing two-column setup which, let’s be honest, none of us knew how to use. POI courses no longer need to be ranked, a development that should come as a surprise to all the faculty advisors who never knew they did.
Spring 2015 PreRegistration is open, meaning it’s 2+ weeks of fretting—mostly for frosh, but it’s no treat for everyone else, either. WesMaps takes in your feelings, your worries, your hopes, your dreams, your prerequisites, and it spits them out into a nonsensical schedule as if to say, I am a roulette of chance and class hierarchy and you shall bow to my authority.
So to help everyone out in their quest, I’ve been going around looking for the weirdest/most liberal arts/funniest course names and descriptions on WesMaps. Just remember, just because it sounds stupid doesn’t mean it’s not the most awesome and fascinating class you might ever take—take that from a guy who was in “Exotic Latin Corporealities” (LAST 213, Spring 2013).
Disclaimer: As with everytime we do this sort of post, the classes are heavily weighted in the Humanties and Social Sciences categories, because, as hard as you try, you won’t get far on laughs with “Molecular Biophysics Journal Club II.” If you see anything that is noteworthy that I didn’t include here, put it in the comments!
“You’ve all been very good. I’m sorry, I’m a bit traumatized.”
Neither snow nor ice nor free speech restrictions could stop her: as planned, Judith Butler, famed Professor of Rhetoric and Literature at University of California Berkeley, spoke in Memorial Chapel yesterday to a full-capacity crowd about the writings of philosopher Martin Buber and the promise they may hold for reinstating open dialogue about peace in the Middle East.
Butler was introduced by President Roth, who pointed out that she embodied the Wesleyan mission statement to a tee as a practitioner of “courageous responsibility, which is difficult to carry out to the street and back to the academy.” Professor of Anthropology and American Studies Margot Weiss, who provided background on her for a few minutes afterward, was greeted by a enthusiastic wave of applause when she rose to the stage. Realizing what had happened due to her faintly resembling Butler, she shouted, “I am not Judith Butler, but thank you!” She went on to draw connections between Butler’s current work and the work on gender that she is best known for, saying that her most recent book, Parting Ways, sees Judaism as a kind of “anti-identitarian project.”
Butler’s approach to critiquing Israeli policies was so carefully measured and focused on separating the Jewish people from the idea of the Jewish state that she paused halfway through to assure people she wasn’t a robot. She also thanked the audience for their patient listening and respect for her views, saying, “You’ve all been very good. I’m sorry, I’m a bit traumatized.” Laughter ensued.
In case you haven’t heard from your critical theory-lovin’ friends, noted post-structuralist Judith Butler is coming to campus this Wednesday (4:00pm in Memorial Chapel), speaking in a pumped-up, academic-celebrity installment of the Center for the Humanities’ Monday Night lecture series. There was widespread excitement about her visit long before the topic of her speech was announced. But Butler, who once taught at Wesleyan, now has a new and quite different project underfoot, one that deals with an aspect of her own identity apart from gender: the difficult questions of Jewish identity and the Israeli state.
When she arrives here, she’ll still be hot off the heels of a controversy at CUNY-funded Brooklyn College, where prominent pro-Israel Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and a “battalion of New York lawmakers” threatened to cut the campus’s funding if the president refused to capitulate on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions panel at which she was speaking, according to Salon.
Fortunately, with the blessing of many significant political figures, including Mayor Bloomberg, Butler ended up being allowed to speak after all on February 8th, but she modified her words to address the controversy. Butler is a professor of rhetoric as well as comparative literature, and she added to her speech remarks addressing the not-already-converted:
Pyxis, Wesleyan’s only interdisciplinary humanities journal, has a pretty sweet compendium of corporeal lexicon for your perusal. It also wants you to submit your academic writing related to their theme of BODIES.
Bodies. We all have one. Or do we? What is a body?
Body: (n) The complete physical form of a person or animal; the assemblage of parts, organs, and tissues that constitutes the whole material organism.
Body: (v) To give form, shape, or physical presence to; to embody.
While these are two definitions of “body,” the body, as a concept, has many more connotations. Scholars, for example, have discussed the ways in which the body figures into politics, religion, philosophy (e.g., mind/body dualism), performance, visual art, and science. Pyxis, a new undergraduate journal for the humanities, is interested in seeing how different disciplines and approaches in the humanities have defined, criticized and challenged the notion and interpretations of bodies.
From Aria Danaparamita, Claire Choi, Ka Ya Lee, and Yu Vongkiatkajorn:
So we were sitting there contemplating infinity when we thought, why is there not a student-run academic journal for the humanities? Answer: because we’re going to start one! (That makes no sense, whatever.)
We are starting this new journal for the humanities (pending a more attractive name…) in partnership with CHUM. Here’s the plan: a journal published periodically, in print and online, with peer-reviewed academic work from any of the humanities, surrounding one common theme.
And you should be involved. Ways to be involved:
– editorial team
– print layout/production
– online/media team
We’d like to have the most diverse team possible in terms of interests and disciplines (even if you don’t have a major yet!). We’d also like to have people who’ve had experience in publications on campus. Or anyone who thinks this is a good idea, really.
That effectively means that there’s another Center for the Humanities (CHUM) lecture going on later this evening over at Russell House, which as you may or may not have heard, just got a pretty fine monetary injection of $2 million as reported in the Argus a couple of days ago. This week’s lecture is to be given by Science and Society Professor Laura Stark, entitled “Love in a Total Institution: How College Interns Changed Postwar Clinical Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.”
Aside from sounding like the title of a novel that could rival “Love in the Time Cholera,” it may in fact be a nice antidote to the dour Tales of the Intern that’s been popping up here and there. (Black Swan! Black Swan!) Click on after the jump for an excerpt of the lecture’s description.
Date: Oct. 10 Time: 4.30PM – 6.00PM Place: Russell House, main room
From Kathleen Coe Roberts an opportunity to hear a really nice guy talk (I actually saw him a few minutes ago):
In the last decade of the twentieth century, Russell Banks published a series of brilliant novels that explore the possibilities for democracy in the post-Cold-War United States. Banks’s fiction addresses this problem not just thematically, but formally and generically as well—both invoking and calling into question the once widely shared notion that literary fiction might serve as an important means of democratic education. Professor McCann proposes that Banks’ work can be read as at once a lament for and an indictment of the declining belief that the novel and the university could work together toward the realization of a democratic society.
Date: Monday, Feb. 21
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Place: Russell House
Kathleen Coe Roberts, from the Center for the Humanities, sends word of an interesting Russell House lecture tomorrow night. Semi-relatedly, did you know that Russell House was named a National Historic Monument in 2001? Now you know.
Professor Kathleen Stewart will explore the ways we might think about what constitutes a life, a subject of her book in progress on worlding in the U.S. She argues that worlding is an incitement to form now taking place in situations of ordinary living saturated with promise and threat. An intimate, compositional process of inhabiting publicly circulating forces of all kinds, worlding now proliferates around practices, bodies, fantasies, scenes of absorption, styles, forms of attachment, or strategies for self-transformation. The commonplace labor of becoming sentient to a world?€?s work, bodies, and rhythms scores worlding refrains across disparate events, registers, sensibilities, atmospheres, and states of acclimation, endurance, pleasure or alarm. As worlds accrue, spread contagiously, sediment, unfold, go flat, get stuck, or dissipate, they call attention to what it is like to be-in-the-world. Using recent efforts to rebuild the role of description and the form and function of the concept in theorizing, Stewart approaches worldings as objects that are oblique, enigmatic, plastic and intense. They have trajectories, gradients, valences, moods, sensations, tempos and lifespans. Theorizing with and about them can teach a politics of affective life.