Hartford Historian’s Research Of Secret WWII Jewish Archive Is Now A Documentary

New England Public Radio

A new film about a hidden World War II-era archive, created in secret by Jews living in Warsaw, is showing in western Massachusetts. “Who Will Write Our History” is based on a book by Trinity College historian Samuel Kassow.

The film begins in 1940, two years before Germans first start to send hundreds of thousands of Jews from Warsaw to Nazi gas chambers. A small group of men and women living in the enforced Jewish ghetto secretly collected artifacts that would document their lives. The archiving effort was led by Emanuel Ringelblum.

The film “Who Will Write Our History” is based on Kassow’s research. He said he identified with Ringelblum, who was also a scholar. Ringelblum understood Jews could fight the Germans with paper and pencil, Kassow said, not just guns…


Islamic Art History: Calligraphy, the art of writing as a means of expression for Muslims

The Daily Campus (University of Connecticut)

On Thursday Nov. 8, the Muslim Students Association hosted their fall dinner at Wilbur Cross Reading Room. The event featured guest speaker Rasha Ahmed, a University of Connecticut alumni who is now an economics professor at Trinity College.

Ahmed focused the beginning of her talk with the idea of art being haram, or Islamically prohibited. She explained her ideas through history.

Islamic art originated in the seventh century as work produced by people who lived in Muslim lands. Before these lands were dominated by the Islamic faith, Arabs worshipped idols. After the revelation of the Quran, the ideas of Allah (God) being the only creator took over the principles of art and creation. From then on, the rules of Islamic art, which is heavily dominated by religious calligraphy and Arab-looking patterns, did not call for animate objects in art. The idea behind this was to prevent the previously idol-worshipping people from seeing other people as creators. All of this history and conflict bring up the religious validity of Islamic art. Ahmed, of course, believes art is an essential part of Islam.

“There is a hadith [quote from Prophet Mohammed] that says, ‘Allah is beautiful and loves beauty,’” Ahmed said, “There is nothing wrong in using art or using it as a means of expression.”…


Art Review: ‘The Renaissance Nude’ Review: The Body, Sacred and Sensual – By Mary Tompkins Lewis

The Wall Street Journal

The primacy of the nude in Renaissance art is often framed in terms of a static cultural narrative in which the classically inspired figures of 15th-century Italy were opposed by the more naturalistic nudes of Northern artists. As argued in the Getty Museum’s sweeping exhibition “The Renaissance Nude”—organized by a curatorial team under its senior curator emeritus Thomas Kren—and in its accompanying publication, the proliferation and sheer variety of nude and partially nude figures that emerged in this era was rooted in a much richer aesthetic and intellectual exchange.

The installation of over 100 paintings, sculptures and other works plunges straightaway into one of the show’s central tenets: that the naturalistic nude body was crucial not only to the classical revival but to Christian imagery and belief. Michele Giambono’s “The Man of Sorrows” (c. 1430), depicting Christ in his tomb and marked by the subject’s anguished face, emaciated torso and tactile, bleeding wounds, offers palpable proof of his humanity, and of how the isolated, veristic nude could galvanize devotion. Similarly, in a gallery devoted to the unidealized body, the Florentine sculptor Donatello captures in his abject, rawboned “St. Jerome” (1460-70), a polychromed wooden figure who carries the stone he used to mortify his own flesh, a visceral embodiment of the hermit’s harsh, ascetic life…

Ms. Lewis teaches art history at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.


Four keys to staying employed in the future – Op-ed by Angel B. Pérez

Hartford Courant

The world of work is changing at unprecedented rates. In the United States, only 27 percent of people work in the field in which they majored in college. By the time today’s high school students are 38, it is predicted they will have held between 10 and 14 jobs — and we don’t even know what those jobs will be. One third of the jobs today’s students will encounter don’t exist. In addition, up to 50 percent of the current jobs could become automated in their lifetimes.

Despite these statistics, students are barraged with antiquated messages about preparing for their futures: Your college major determines your future. A particular degree guarantees you a certain job and income. Play it safe. Major in something “traditional” and you’ll always have a job. But some of the most important tools students can acquire are not mainstream. Here are strategies students can use for successful vocation and life navigation: … [subheads include: Become a Student for Life; Embrace the Liberal Arts; Become Robot Proof; Become Culturally Competent] …

Angel B. Pérez is vice president for enrollment and student success at Trinity College.


How Meaningful Service Can Grow Your Career – By Joanne Berger-Sweeney, PhD


Over the course of my career, I’ve probably said “yes” to service opportunities more often than I’ve said “no.” In fact, service has been a key element of my professional development and is likely one of the reasons I moved from the bench into academic administration. I am now president of Trinity College.

I enjoyed the opportunities collegewide and external service afforded me. I met interesting people and was constantly stimulated to learn something new and broaden my horizon.

For example, during my second year as an assistant professor at Wellesley College, I was invited to serve on the presidential search committee because of my previous volunteer work. This wasn’t a burden but rather a unique opportunity to see academic leadership in action…

Joanne Berger-Sweeney is president and professor of neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.