Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat — 9/27

We invite you to the 13th Annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat on Thursday, September 27 at the Wadsworth Mansion.  The retreat will feature seminars from four faculty, Wesleyan’s David Beveridge, Amy MacQueen, Michael Weir, and Wesleyan alumna Kylie Walters (University of Minnesota;

 In addition, graduate and undergraduate students from the Molecular Biophysics program will present research posters.

 The keynote speaker for the retreat is Professor Bertrand García-Moreno from Johns Hopkins University;  Professor García-Moreno’s research is aimed at understanding electrostatics in protein systems and how these forces influence protein folding, structure and function.

 Molecular Biophysics is an interdisciplinary program that has been supported by an NIH training grant for over 25 years.  The retreat is made possible by support from the training grant and the Chemistry and MB&B departments.



Hispanic Film Series: Post Mortem — 9/20, 8 p.m.

Please join us tomorrow night for the third film of our Hispanic Film Series that showcases new cinema from Latin America and Spain. This week the turn is for the wonderful Chilean director Pablo Larraín. We hope to see you there!

 POST MORTEM:  Pablo Larraín / 98 min. / 2010 / Chile, Mexico, Germany


Pablo Larraín first broke onto the international film scene when Tony Manero premiered at the Cannes Directors´ Fortnight. This Chilean director has now followed up with visceral Post Mortem. Mario Cornejo is going about his daily business of writing autopsy reports at the military hospital in Santiago, when the Pinochet coup d´état shakes this heretofore apolitical character out of his state of apathy. This passionately executed film by Larraín has met with brilliant reviews, competing at the Venice Film Festival and nabbing secondplace at the Havana Film Festival´s Coral Awards. Post Mortem is neither areconstruction of the Pinochet days, nor an angry denunciation of the period. Instead, Larrain offers a borderline-surreal –Lynchian – black comedy to show, among other things, how easy it is for ordinary people to sleepwalk into a climate of atrocity, either as victims, collaborators, or as both. As in his first film, Larraín invests his characters with metaphoric undertones, suffusing the city of Santiago with a surreal visual texture that evokes the nightmarish landscape it was rapidly becoming.


Where: Goldsmith Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies
When: 8 p.m.      
Free Admission 


Presented as part of The Spanish Film Club series with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with U.S. Universities. In collaboration with Wesleyanʼs Latin American Studies program and the Department of Romance Languages and Literaturesʼ Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund.

Be a Peer Health Advocate Apps due 9/28

Interested in health education? Apply to be a Peer Health Advocate! 

The Peer Health Advocates are WesWell’s team of volunteers that create and implement peer-led health education outreach efforts on a variety of health issues including sexual health, stress management, sleep and study habits, alcohol and drug use, and healthy relationships.

 All class years welcome!

Apply to be a PHA HERE! Applications are due by Sept. 28th.

Visit the WesWell website for more information:

Mission: WesWell, the Office of Health Education, is an integral part of Wesleyan University’s Health Services. WesWell understands the impact of student health on academic performance and is committed to providing services that are designed to develop healthy behaviors and prevent health concerns that may interfere with academic and personal success.


Senior Barbecue Photos 9/15/12

Senior Barbecue Photos!

Many thanks to the 2013 Class Council and the Senior CAs for their great work on this event–from beginning to end–and to University Relations, Residential Life, the Deans Office and SALD for their generous support.  Thanks also go to Bon Appetit, Events & Scheduling, SALD and Physical Plant for getting it off and running, and to the Senior Class Gift officers for their presentation.

Beautiful weather, awesome music from Bones Complex and DJs McKenzii Webster and Brewster Lee & Friends, a hearty meal, a great raffle, and the spectacular seniors from the fabulous Class of 2013 had it all going in the Fountain backyard on Saturday. 

Below are some pics from that event.  Wish we could have gotten everyone who was there!


WeSupport: Be a Peer Mental Health Advocate — Workshop Sessions begin 9/25 or 9/28

WeSupport — Wesleyan Student Support Network

WeSupport is a 6-session workshop offered by Counseling and Psychological Services and Active Minds.  In a series of six 1-hour discussions, we will train students to be peer mental health advocates.  Participating students will learn about a variety of mental health topics, become familiar with the signs a friend or acquaintance may be in distress, gain practice talking with someone who is struggling, and become conversant in both campus and community resources.  Students who complete the six-session series will have the option of joining a network of Wesleyan peer mental health advocates.

WeSupport seminars will be held Tuesdays from 4:30 – 5:30 PM in 41 Wyllys room 114 and Fridays from 12:15 – 1:15 in 41 Wyllys room 113.  Start date is September 25th for the Tuesday group, and September 28th for the Friday group.  The series will not meet during the week of fall break.

If you are interested in joining us, please email Dr. Jennifer D’Andrea at and indicate which day you prefer.




Celebrating Students 2013: Zain Alam

“It was only after my family and I moved to India that we finally found a little bit of sakoon.

On a twelve-hour bus ride from New Delhi, India to Lahore, Pakistan, a man from Sialkot, Pakistan recounted to me his life story having left Pakistan to resettle in India. Amazed at what an American would be doing in the subcontinent in the middle of an intense July heat, he opened up to me after hearing my own funnily accented Hindi. His little statement on finally finding sakoon—a word encompassing feelings of relief, peace, and calm—was entirely unsolicited, yet stands as one of the most telling and poignant moments of my journey for my thesis.

 With the Davenport and Tololyan grants, I traveled to Dubai and South Asia this summer. My most vivid childhood memories are of my grandparents recounting the family history: a relatively peaceful and content existence in the city of Lucknow in India, the home beyond which they could not trace their ancestry, violently disturbed in 1947.  I realized the serious potential for this project when, knowing that I wanted to research Partition and the storied Indian Muslim experience, my professors told me to look no further than the uniqueness of my family story—transnational in scope, consisting of three divergent narratives of expatriate Pakistanis, current Pakistanis, and Muslims who remained in India—to use as a foundational basis to explore greater cultural, socioeconomic, and political questions that rile the region to this day.

I had been to Pakistan once before for a wedding about two years ago, but this was my first time traveling to India and Dubai. Dubai was important because this is where my uncle and grandmother from my mother’s side reside. In addition to obviously being trustworthy and easygoing family members to begin the project with, I learned quickly how to most productively conduct the interviews from the kind of answers I got and what directions the conversation would take. Dubai beyond that was of little interest—it felt entirely lacking in its own culture and history, instead absorbing my least favorite of Western values, aspiring to make all of its malls and hotels and cars the biggest and baddest.

Being able to go to India at this particular moment in time was an incredible opportunity. From the moment I set foot in Bangalore, I could tell the country is at a major crossroads in terms of the rapid development and global significance soon to come its way. Major subway systems are built within a matter of years; multinationals are establishing offices left and right to absorb a massively young and educated workforce; perhaps most important is that, even with serious problems of corruption and inequality, almost everyone’s face glows when they’re asked what they think of India’s future. They proudly assert that a new India has arrived to finally inherit the glorious legacy of ancient Indian civilizations. Even beyond seeing all of this though, however important it was for my research, some of the most significant moments of my trip were when a family member would see me for the first time at a train station and tear up, telling me how much I looked like my grandparents who they hadn’t seen in so many decades since the subcontinent split.

 My experience on the other side of the border was entirely different; there is little of the same national pride and hope for a shared prosperity, they say, for any number of reasons. Afghanistan, America, India, or the hotheaded tribals—there are too many hurdles to overcome and all are to blame. The question of Pakistan has come into increased focus among academics, policymakers, and the general public in light of the war in neighboring Afghanistan, the persistence of Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist networks, and a government unable to deal with any such serious dilemmasThe aim is to find a microcosm of Indian and Pakistani narratives in the memories of each branch of my family, to see how troubled beginnings came to such divergent conclusions and what history offers toward a productive future in the region. I wasn’t there for very long, but I can say with little hesitation that the formative experience of exploring my family history and homeland was not only instructive for my thesis, but perhaps the first step towards a future career in academia.


Lecture: “Natural Resource Policy-Making in Thailand” 9/20, 4:30 p.m.

Professor Danny Unger of Northern Illinois University will be speaking this Thursday, September 20, on “Tackling Tough Decisions in a Democracy: Natural Resource Policy-Making in Thailand.” The lecture is at 4:30 PM in the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies.

Democracy is sometimes said to be associated with stronger protections against environmental degradation. Thailand’s environmental regime has become stronger since 1990, and its policy processes have become generally more participatory since the year 2000. The accompanying environmental gains have been uneven, however, and in some cases have been associated with authoritarian interludes rather than with democratic politics. What can the case of Thailand tell us about the conditions under which democracy contributes to preserving the environment.

You are cordially invited to attend Professor Unger’s talk.

Celebrating Students 2013: Taran Catania

On a College of the Environment Fellowship, I returned to Tanzania (after having spent the fall semester there) to do research for my thesis. I wanted to look into small-scale collaborative conservation projects, particularly ones managed by local communities: “true” community-based conservation. As someone very interested in bird conservation, if these projects included birds, I knew that would just be an ultimate bonus. By some stroke of luck, I was made aware of a village conservation project for a critically endangered bird in the small Maasai village of Engikaret, near the Kenyan border. And so I went to go study the Beesley’s Lark and conduct interviews about this conservation project.

In those weeks of my field research and village interviews, I fell in love with this bird and the people of Engikaret, but found out there was actually no conservation project in place, and that they in fact wanted one. Their argument: if we have an endangered bird that is only found here, and tourists will pay to come see it, we will happily help preserve this bird’s habitat so we can use the income from ecotourism to benefit our community. And they were just waiting for an opportunity to put the pieces together.  

In short, I ended up actually doing the thing I had intended to do research on. Together with some Maasai leaders I had become good friends with, I helped found the Beesley’s Lark Conservation Program of Engikaret (BLCPE). After weeks of “business” meetings (conducted in both Maasai and Swahili) and a variety of other tasks – such as drawing up bylaws, getting government accreditation, and creating info sheets, a website, and ID cards – we really had something started. I had a big signboard made for the road to help attract more visitors, and I took 3 young Engikaret villagers out into the field and taught them how to identify all the fauna of the area, with special attention to how to find and identify the Beesley’s Lark. (Although my Swahili is pretty good, my Maasai is sorely lacking; this training involved many a moment in which I physically reenacted the posture or behavior of each bird species, for lack of appropriate Maasai terminology with which to describe it – and, as expected, everyone found this quite hilarious.)

BLCPE has only just gotten started. My plan now is to generate some funding to go back after graduation and spend several months helping to build a small visitor’s center, get some baseline publicity for the program, train a few more guides, and generate some conclusive survey data on this highly endangered bird. This kind of work, although unconventional in nature, sends an important message: no matter who or where, people can and should benefit from their own environmental stewardship. In a nation where communities have been forced off of their land and receive no benefits from the preservationist model of conservation by closed-access national parks, small-scale community-based conservation like BLCPE might just be the way to both environmental conservation and environmental justice.

CHUM Monday Night Lecture Series–Prof. Lucian Gomoll — 6 p.m.

Center for the Humanities 

Monday Night Lecture Series

Lucian Gomoll

Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral fellow

“Chronopolitics of Nineteenth-Century Displays of Difference”

Monday, September 17, 6:00 pm
Russell House

The nineteenth-century exhibitionary circuit thoroughly incorporated Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution, and various conflicted interpretations of them, into a variety of sites including nationally endowed art and science museums, world’s fairs, dime museums, and aquariums. Exhibitions in the 1800s commonly featured what I call displays of difference, or the staging of people as abnormal and exotic Others in contrast to a putatively normal public. Such presentations of the live body were often invitations for white citizens to make sense of colonial relationships, racial differences, new injuries caused by war and industry, and the role of science in culture. 

This lecture focuses on how temporality, typology, and telos converged in displays of difference to engender a conflicted, violent semiotic alchemy that provoked political struggle and social death.


Last day of Drop/Add

Today–Friday, September 14–

is the last day of the

Drop/Add period.


Make sure to conduct your transactions

by 5 p.m.

for adds, deletions, cross-listings &

grading mode changes.


The Withdrawal Period begins

September 15.