Refugee or Migrant? The European Crisis in Historical Perspective


As the Syrian war draws on and the ranks of displaced people grow ever larger, Europe arguably faces its largest refugee crisis since the second world war. The movement of people across the Mediterranean and the Balkans has alternately revealed official incapacity, reactionary violence, and outpourings of voluntarism and support. In recent weeks, some commentators have objected to the characterization of those in flight as migrants, insisting that the term misrepresents their movement as voluntary as a way of denying them basic human rights. Is this so? How can other instances of voluntary and involuntary migration shed light on the current crisis? Four scholars will put the crisis in historical perspective by analyzing varied experiences of displacement, from the persistent plight of African asylum seekers in Europe to the Southeast Asian diaspora in the United States.

Panelists: Bruce Masters (History); Marguerite Nguyen (English); Peter Rutland (Government); Laura Ann Twagira (History).

Thursday, September 17
12:00 noon
PAC 002

It’s not too early to think about SPRING!

Dear ’18,
It’s Not Too Early to Think SPRING!

As you plan your courses this fall, keep the Wesleyan “Spring Intensive” in mind. This new opportunity will allow you to plunge into a new course every three weeks and to intensively focus on project or topic at a time rather than balancing several. The goal of the program is to give students an opportunity to build cohesiveness across their courses, collaborate with faculty, engage in project-based learning and sample from some never previously offered courses from prominent visitors. Each three week course will carry a full credit covering the same amount of material as 14 week courses. Check out the menu of courses here
Who can participate? Up to 50 students interested in building their spring schedule with intensive courses and other for-credit experiences.
Can I take other courses? Though most admitted students will take their courses exclusively in the intensive format, students may enroll in one or more semester-long credits for a senior thesis, independent or group tutorial, student forum, or internship. Students can also take quarter-credit courses outside the intensive format, schedule permitting.
When will intensive courses meet? Classes will meet Monday through Friday for 2 hours and 50 minutes for three weeks.
How will students be admitted? The Intensive program is POI. Interested students may apply for admission by meeting with Professor Lisa Dierker (ldierker@wes) or any of the faculty teaching through the intensive program, before or during spring semester planning period. Admitted students will then seek final course selection approval from their advisors.
A bonus! Students admitted to the Intensive semester will not need to participate in pre-registration for spring 2016.
I’ll post this on the ’18 blog as well.
Dean Wood

New and Changed Psychology Courses

Psychology Department Course Updates

PSYC 203: Sec 02 Quantitative Methods will be cancelled due to low enrollment. If you were thinking of making a request for this course, please choose Section 01 instead. Below is a description of Sec 01 of the course (including a new proposed course time — please read carefully!).

PSYC 203: Sec 01 Quantitative Methods is a general introduction to research methods in Psychology taught by social psychologist, Professor Kathleen Schmidt ( It is similar to other 200-level research methods courses except that it covers the entire field, rather than focusing on a sub-area of psychology, thus the more general title. In this class, you will understand how to do research that involves collecting data about all aspects of human behavior that can be measured as numbers (e.g., survey ratings, accuracy, response times, etc.). (This is why it is called quantitative methods — you measure things using numbers!). There are now no prerequisites for this section of the course and it is open to students in all class years and majors. This course is a requirement for the Psychology major. In fact, for the incoming class, prospective majors must take this course in their first two years in order to be able to declare Psychology as a major. If you are at all interested in psychology as a major (or are in the major) and want to get a project-based start in understanding research methods, this is a great course for you!

Once you have taken this course, you will be in a better position to get involved in a research lab in the department or to do independent research, too. If you are still looking for a class, do take advantage of the seats in this class this term!

The above Sec 01 class was previously scheduled to meet on M and F 1:10-2:30. The department has changed the class to M W 1:10-2:30 so as to accommodate more students. If you are interested in this class, please let the professor know right away by making an enrollment request or emailing the professor at the above address. If you would love to take the course but cannot do the class time, please let the professor know that too. The professor will communicate with you directly to let you know where and when to meet.

New History course!

Still looking for a fourth class? Consider taking HIST 319: Crisis, Creativity and Modernity in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. W, 1:10-4:00 pm, ALLB 304. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Even though this is listed as an advanced History seminar, the pace and content does not differ much from frosh and sophomore seminars that have been taught by Professor Erik Grimmer-Solem in the History Department in the past, so first and second year students shouldn’t be intimidated. This seminar on the Weimar Republic is easily one of the most interesting courses that he teaches on campus. In past years, students in this class have produced fascinating research papers on such topics as Weimar-era photography, advertising, inflation, Dadaism, expressionist painting, social democracy, early Nazism, Bauhaus architecture and design, sports and athleticism in Weimar culture, cabaret and cultural critique, nudism, the women’s movement, Berlin in film, and German-Jewish identity. The readings cover a wide range of topics, so there’s something for everyone interested in an era that produced some of the most iconic examples of modernism. As the professor will be on sabbatical after December and will have other teaching commitments when he returns, it’s quite likely that this will be the last time this course will be offered in the next 3-4 years. Professor Grimmer-Solem was the recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2013 and the Carol A. Baker ’81 Memorial Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Research in 2005. More about him here:

If you’re interested but not a junior or senior, please just put in an enrollment request and come to the first session of class on Wednesday, 1:10-4:00 pm in ALLB 304.

Full course description:!wesmaps_page.html?crse=012852&term=1159

After Charleston: Next Steps for a Movement for Social Justice

After Charleston: Next Steps for a Movement for Social Justice
The panel will include Bree Newsome, Bishop John Selders, Professor Clemmie Harris, and Tedra James

When: Thursday, September 17th at 8pm.
Where: The Chapel

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come basis.
More information is available here:

BPN: Being Present Now, Mindfulness course

Mindfulness with Brownies : every Wednesday at 7pm: basement Memorial Chapel. Informal, lasts 30 min. No previous experience necessary. This is a supportive community led by our mindfulness intern. This is year two of this project.

Our 6 week MBSR based class now called: BPN: Being Present Now. Starts Monday 10/5 with a sample class on Monday at 9/28. To apply: This is limited to 25 students.

For more info on the benefits of mindfulness from a scientific perspective:


You may not know that we offer one-year of Portuguese coursework every year (PORT 155 in the fall and PORT 156 in the spring). These 2 consecutive courses are designed for students who are already familiar with a Romance Language. The one-year of intermediate coursework in Portuguese that we offer has been steadily popular with Wesleyan seniors preparing for going abroad to Brazil or Portugal after they graduate from Wesleyan, but we would like to encourage students to think of Portuguese earlier in their career. All class years are welcome in the course and should contact Elizabeth Jackson ( should they have questions.

What is particularly exciting about this coursework is that although students would “only” be doing one year of Portuguese, they would actually reach an early advanced level in Portuguese after that one year.

New CHUM course

Concepts of Matter: A Brief Philosophical History of the Concept of Matter
CHUM 313
Fall 2015 Section: 01
Crosslisting: PHIL 310

In this course, we will explore changing notions of matter in Western thought from classical Greek thought through the quantum revolution in physics, and philosophical debates about their implications. We will begin with views of matter in Plato, Aristotle, and the ancient atomists and how they were interrelated with views of human beings: the devaluation of matter and the body in the Platonistic and Gnostic thought, the perhaps surprisingly positive attitude taken toward death without a hope of continued existence by the materialist Lucretius, and the appropriation of Aristotle’s hylomorphic philosophy into Christian theology and Scholastic science in the late middle ages. We will then look at the emergence of a conception of “material substance” in the 17th century, examining the differences between the mathematical formulations of Galileo and Descartes and those of atomists such as Gassendi. The remainder of the section will focus on the rise of materialism and reactions against it: Descartes and Hobbes on the question of whether human beings are merely machines, the Newton-Leibniz debate about the activity of God in nature, Laplace’s demon and the deterministic interpretation of classical mechanics, and the 19th-century reactions of romanticism and spiritualism. Finally, we will examine the radical and counterintuitive changes in the notion of matter occasioned by quantum mechanics, as well as interpretations that put consciousness and subjectivity back into the collapse of the wave function. We will consider whether contemporary physics really has the kind of notion of “material substance” needed for a traditional form of materialism before concluding with readings from philosophers and physicists in the recent revivals of dualism and panpsychism.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: Seminar Grading Mode: Graded

New Music Course

Introduction to Experimental Music (MUSC 109)
Fall 2015; Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:10 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., RHH 003

This course is a survey of recent and historical electronic and instrumental experimental works, with emphasis on the works of American composers. Starting with early experimentalists, germinal works of John Cage and Henry Cowell, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff, and Morton Feldman will be studied; followed by electronic and minimal works of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier Robert Ashley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Glenn Branca, John Zorn, and including discussions of recent work by composers, performers, and sound artists such as Luke DuBois, Tristan Perich, Jacob Cooper, Lesley Flanigan, Nick Hallett, Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture), Jennifer Walshe, and Object Collection. The course includes lectures, demonstrations, and performances, occasionally by guest lecturers.

Sexual Assault Survivors Support Group

The Sexual Assault Survivors Support Group for female-identified survivors will be held on Tuesdays beginning September 22th-December 8th from 5:30-6:45PM. Meetings will follow an open support group format and participants determine group topics each week.
Contact Alysha B. Warren, LPC, Therapist/Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator (awarren[at]wesleyan[dot]edu) to sign up no later than Thursday, September 17th. Reference “Tuesday Support Group” in subject line of email.
Dates: Tuesdays, September 22nd-December 8th
Time: 5:30-6:45PM