This week in #wtf: on Monday, a “pre-loved” kitty condo appeared in the middle of College Row, its position revealing little as to what building it could have come from or why it was moved outside. Kari Weil, Professor of Letters, has been spotted struggling to walk a large dog around campus, but does President Roth have a secret pet cat? Was it put there as a protest in favor of allowing pets on campus—perhaps by the disenfranchised animals themselves? Might it be a teaser for the Kitty Pryde show that’s apparently coming up next week?
Who knows, but the next day it was turned over on its side, and today it’s gone, just as suddenly as it arrived.
“And just like he said, I coulda told ya / M. Roth, the holder of a boulder, the money folder.”
Michael Roth and Professor Kari Weil, notorious cutest couple of Arguses past, have opted to donate $100,000 to Wesleyan’s endowment for financial aid. Repeat for emphasis: President Roth and Professor Kari Weil have opted to donate $100,000 to Wesleyan’s endowment for financial aid. Special thanks to the Wesleyan Connection for the tip, and slightly specialer thanks to Roth and Weil for, err, the 100 grand. Seriously: thanks, you guys! This is grand stuff. As Trustee-in-Chief Joshua Boger ’73 wisely put it,
I can’t thank Michael and Kari enough for their generosity. Their gift represents the kind of ‘stretch gift’ that we are frequently soliciting from other alumni and their families, and I hope that all members of the Wesleyan community will follow their lead in making Wesleyan a philanthropic priority.
According to the Connection report, Wes is spending $47 million on financial aid this academic year. (In 2011, you may recall, Wes raised $37.74 million, nearly half of which went towards aid. At the time, Roth spoke hopefully about strengthening the university’s “economic foundation” and minimizing the need to hike tuition again, as Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees voted to do a year ago this week.)
Wesleyan, according to reputable mainstream media sources, is again on the cutting edge of academia: no longer just the “epicenter of surrealist Brooklyn pop” or breeding ground for a rising film mafia, we are apparently also pioneers in what the New York Times identifies as “the growing, but still undefined, field of animal studies,” which seems to connote “anything that has to do with the way humans and animals interact.” Not that there’s anything especially new about that—except the Times notes a particularly striking surge of interest, particularly among the humanities, where, traditionally, “monkey chow is never served and all the mazes are made of words, the attention of scholars was firmly fixed on humans.”
Today, not so. Right. And Wesleyan is at the center of all this interest (and not just because you fulfilled your NSM credits by looking at pictures of saki monkeys in Biodiversity). (Well, that was me.) Dartmouth may boast offering an English class with the name “Animals and Women in Western Literature: Nags, Bitches and Shrews,” but Wesleyan now offers a summer fellowship program in conjunction with the Animals and Society Institute, which presently lists over 100 animal studies courses at various colleges and universities nationwide nationwide. Professor Lori Gruen, Philosophy chair, coordinates this program and has much to say about the links between animal studies and philosophy scholarship:
Lori Gruen, head of the philosophy department at Wesleyan and coordinator of the summer fellowship program in animal studies there, said one of the major questions in philosophy was “Who should we direct our moral interest to?” Thirty years ago, she said, animals were at the margins of philosophical discussions of ethics; now “the animal question is right in the center of ethical discussion.”
This party is either hugely under-publicized, or hugely fake.
The listing has been removed from today’s Events Calendar, but the Custom Events Calendar that arrived in my inbox this morning lists a “Wesleyan Holiday Party” hosted by Michael Roth and Kari Weil:Date: Today, Dec. 11
Time: 3:30 PM
Place: President’s House (269 High)
Disclaimer: I think anyone can add events to the Events Calendar—though, they do have to be approved before they go public. In any case, before you crowd his front door, it might be nice to RSVP with his office (ext. 3500).
At a time when many departments are struggling with understaffing issues, new president Michael Roth pledging to teach a course came as a godsend. But then, what’s this? His wife, Kari Weil, wants to teach, too?! Argus writer Andrew Luglio reports:
Weil has been chair of Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts since 2003. Critical Studies is a non-major program involving a variety of subject-specific and interdisciplinary courses. A professor since 1985, her teaching experience in a variety of fields has prepared her for the unique COL program.
“I’m very excited by COL,” Weil said. “Much of my work has been interdisciplinary and coming now from an interdisciplinary program, I know both the rewards and some of the difficulties in working in those areas.” Argus writer
Weil received her BA in French from Cornell University and her MA and PhD in comparative literature from Princeton University. Feminism and sexuality in French literature initiated her interest in women’s studies, a field in which she has published several articles and written one book, “Androgyny and the Denial of Difference.”
Weil’s more recent passion in animal studies stems from time she spent in France, where she became fascinated with horses, particularly their relationship to humans and the evolution of their role in society. She is currently working on a manuscript titled “La Plus Belle Conquête de l’Homme: Horses, Gender and the Conquest of Animal Nature in Nineteenth-Century France.”
How impossibly, yet endearingly nerdy could this family get?!