semester, local high school students read “The Odyssey,” and watched “O
Brother, Where Art Thou,” but it wasn’t with their high school English
part of the High School Humanities Program, more than 80 high school
students had the opportunity to participate in six discussions at Wesleyan.
Wesleyan faculty members facilitate the lectures. Students were bussed in
from Vinal Technical High School and Middletown, Killingworth, Mercy and
Xavier high schools.
Rosenthal, professor of sociology and director of the Service-Learning
Center, lectured about social music and culture on May 6. He played music
samples for the students including songs by Woody Guthrie and Aretha
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What kind of respect is Aretha asking for here,” Rosenthal
asks the students. “If you study this stuff, you can’t simply listen to the
lyrics. Think about the style, the voice, the year it came out.”
Rosenthal sketched a troubadour and other people on the chalkboard to
illustrate how the music, or the message, is interpreted differently. One
person may really favor the lyrics, another may like the beat and rhythm,
and still another may not really be paying any attention, he explained.
difficult to pin-point the real connection between music and social
movement, he says. “Individuals take this in and react, as well as reflect,
viewings this year included “Glory,” “Monsoon Wedding,” “Slam,” “The
Godfather: Part II,” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
High School Humanities Program is supported by Community and University
Services for Education, most commonly known as CAUSE. Established in 1967
by Marjorie Daltry Rosenbaum, CAUSE facilitates the implementation of
cooperative programs and projects between Wesleyan, the Middletown community
and the public and private schools in the Middletown area.
addition to the High School Humanities Program, CAUSE also supports the
Art Show, a unique exhibition of more than 1,200 artworks of Middletown
students in grades K-12 at Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery. This annual event in
April showcases the art curriculum in Middletown public schools and attracts
hundreds of students and their families to the Wesleyan campus each spring.Silent Sounds, a collection of selected literary works submitted by students
in Middletown Public Schools grades 6-12. Categories include poetry, short
stories, literary analyses and personal essays.
Mini-grants to local Middletown teachers to develop innovative and creative
short-term projects to engage their students in learning.
Rosenthal is one of six professors involved with the High School Humanities
Program. Other lecturers this semester have included Andy Szegedy-Maszak,
the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, and
the director of the Center for Faculty Career Development; Richard Slotkin,
the Olin Professor of English and professor of American Studies; Indira
Karamcheti, associate professor of English, associate professor of American
studies and associate professor of women’s studies; Kate Rushin, adjunct
assistant professor and visiting writer of African American studies; and
Sean McCann, associate professor of English, associate professor of American
studies and chair of the American Studies Program. Peter
Frenzel, professor of German Studies Emeritus, served as faculty director of
the program and Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations, offered
administrative support for the program.
more information, call 860-685-2245 or 860-638-1401.