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Prof. beloved for parenting advice reflects on career Best-selling author of ‘Cribsheet,’ ‘Expecting Better’ speaks about economics research BY CATE RYAN SCIENCE AND RESEARCH EDITOR During the uniquely anxious months of pregnancy and early years of parenthood, many turn to Professor of Economics Emily Oster’s data-based books. They ask themselves, “What would Emily do?” Oster has become a household name for “Expecting Better” and “Cribsheet,” which mix data synthesis and personal stories to offer unconventional prenatal and parenting advice. “It’s a weird thing to have, to be a person who thinks of themselves as just sitting in their office making graphs, writing papers, and then to have people think of you as someone who is in their life,” Oster said in

an interview with The Herald. “It’s a privilege.” Both of Oster’s parents are economists at Yale, but she wasn’t always set on joining the “family business.” Yet economics continues to run in her family — her husband, Jesse Shapiro, is also a professor of economics at the University. An“ill-fated summer” spent in a fruit fly lab early in her undergraduate career turned Oster away from wet lab biology research. Though she entered college set on studying a hard science, she shifted her focus to economics from that point on. Despite her personal distaste for the lab experience, it set her up to pursue her long-held interest in the ability to “create new knowledge.” Oster is a health economist — focusing on decision-making, causality and other economic principles in relation to medicine and healthcare systems. Throughout her career, Oster has forged interdisciplinary relationships with medical professionals. For example, she studied



BY ANNIE GERSH CONTRIBUTING WRITER In support of efforts to ensure every non-residential campus building has gender inclusive restrooms, the University launched a new mobile application called BrownU that maps each of their locations. BrownU, which was rolled out August 15 by the Computing & Information Services Department, is available for iOS and Android devices. It also includes access to dining hall menus, shuttle routes and gym hours, among other tools. The app emerged after Assistant Director of IT Communications and Training Stephanie Obodda spent a little under a year working with a focus group of 80 students. She wanted to discern “what is most helpful for students as they’re walking across the green with phone in hand.” “Certainly finding a restroom is one of those experiences,” Obodda


Watson forum reflects on Hong Kong protests Students don masks in solidarity with protestors, discuss personal experiences BY SARAH WANG SENIOR STAFF WRITER The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs held a discussion forum yesterday evening for members of the community to voice their thoughts on the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong. Participants at the forum were greeted by students handing out black surgical masks, which they were also wearing. The face masks, which are banned in Hong Kong, are worn by protestors there to signify support for the movement to decrease the mainland Chinese government’s control over Hong Kong. Sparked by proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition bill, largescale protests began in June, criticizing the bill as an attempt by the mainland Chinese government to increase its control over Hong Kong. Since then, hundreds of thousands of civilians have marched through the streets and shut down transportation systems. These


Watson Director Edward Steinfeld, former Consul General in Hong Kong Richard Bouchar and Professor Rebecca Nedstup spoke at the panel. demonstrations have been met with rubber bullets and tear gas cans from the police, further escalating the situation. Moderated by Watson Director Edward Steinfeld, the event opened with a brief panel featuring Rebecca Nedostup, associate professor of history, and Richard Boucher, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute and Consul General in Hong Kong from 1996 to 1999. Nedostup touched on the history of protests in Hong Kong and asked the audience to think beyond “framing the

events” of the current protests in terms of the “immediate concerns” of the protestors. She instead emphasized the broader historical context of the successes and failures of protestors since the rise of the Civic Education Campaign, which was contested by another round of protests during the mid-2010s. In his opening remarks, Boucher said that an underlying reason for these protests is the growing anxiety of



U. app features gender inclusive restroom map ‘BrownU’ also features dining menus, shuttle routes, gym hours, other tools


said. But after spending months reviewing peer college apps, Obodda did not see any that featured a map of gender inclusive restrooms. The campus currently has about 200 nonresidential gender inclusive restrooms and five in progress, according to the LGBTQ Center website. Knowledge about these restrooms’ locations can improve accessibility and inclusion for trans and gender diverse populations, according to Jayden Thai, a licensed psychologist in University Counseling and Psychological Services and leader of a gender diversity support group. The need for these apps became more clear during the “bathroom bills” debate, in which several states attempted to limit restroom usage based on sex assigned at birth, Thai wrote in an email to The Herald. The app “takes the guessing out of the equation and allows folks to more immediately know their nearest safe space, as far as bathrooms go,” Thai added. Especially for students in class, the app prevents them from having to go back to their dorms. Director of the LGBTQ Center Kel-


Jallen ’22 fuels Bears to victory over Yale Sophomore forward scores first career hat trick in 5-1 win at Meehan Auditorium BY ALEXANDRA RUSSELL SPORTS EDITOR The men’s hockey team opened its season with a pair of contests against Yale last weekend, earning a 5-1 victory at home Saturday after falling to the Bulldogs 3-2 on the road Friday. In Saturday’s win, the Bears notched four power-play goals to surpass their Ivy League rival and tie the series. Bruno’s dynamic offense was highlighted by a formidable performance from forward Justin Jallen ’22, who scored the first hat trick of his career in the victory. Jallen was a key contributor for the Bears last season, tying for second on the team in goals scored with eight tallies. He opened his first-year campaign with four points in four games, and posted a three-game goal streak in December 2018. For his outstanding performance in the home opener, Jallen has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

trick! What was that game like for you? Jallen: It was a blast. That was probably one of the best games I feel that we’ve ever played as a team, including from last year. We played for 60 minutes — I thought everyone played well, so it’s fun when everyone’s clicking and … upbeat on the bench. So hopefully we can keep that positive attitude and energy on the bench going into next weekend.

goals for the season? As a team, the expectations are really high after what we did last year, so I think definitely making it to the ECAC Final Four again is a goal that we almost expect. Then also winning it is that next step that we want to take after making it there last year. And that’s one thing our coach talks about a lot is that we have the team and the ability to win the ECAC and to also win the Ivy League too.

Herald: Congratulations on the hat

What are your individual and team





Student collective hosts teach-in on prison abolition, Prison Industrial Complex Page 2

Klein ’20: World Series stars like Gerrit Cole could find new teams this offseason Page 10

Watson Institute Costs of War project to expand research on post-9/11 wars Back


Justin Jallen ’22 had a hot start to the 2019-20 hockey season, scoring a goal in each period against the Yale Bulldogs Saturday.



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‘RailRoad’ activists discuss prison abolition at teach-in Student collective talks reform versus abolition during Wednesday night event BY WILL KUBZANSKY STAFF WRITER Student activists gathered to discuss prison abolition at a teach-in on Wednesday night, bringing forward their concerns with the prison-industrial complex and proposing ways to move toward its eventual disintegration. “Prison Abolition 101” was organized by RailRoad, a student collective that works within the University and with local organizations to radically change the justice and prison systems to move toward “a world where the Prison Industrial Complex has been destroyed,” according to their Facebook page. RailRoad members began by introducing the concept of prison abolition before diving into a group discussion about why prison reform is insufficient. While the group’s official stance does not explicitly include prison abolition, a number of RailRoad members are prison abolitionists. “The end goal is to not have prisons as any form of incarceration,” said RailRoad member Grace Austin ’23, while presenting at the event. “Punishment at any stage doesn’t guarantee any kind of growth.” Aida Sherif ’22, who also presented at the event, said that while prison abolition may seem radical, the roots of the criminal justice system make the process of locking up felons irredeemable. “Prisons were founded in the ideas of punishing the poor, punishing people of color,” Sherif said. “I don’t see it as an institution that can ever fully break away from those foundations.” The teach-in did not outline explicit plans or a timeline to achieve prison abolition. All RailRoad members interviewed emphasized that

HONG KONG FROM PAGE 1 Hong Kong’s youth about their future prospects. Concerned about sky-high apartment prices and an education system trailing behind that of the mainland, young people feel “their world closing in, their futures closing in,” he explained. This frustration was tangible in the views passionately voiced by multiple students who were born and raised in Hong Kong. An undergraduate female student

AOTW FROM PAGE 1 When did you first start playing hockey? I want to say I was four when I actually started playing organized hockey. Growing up in Minnesota, it’s pretty typical for a young kid to start playing that early. My dad was a hockey player so he got me on the skates pretty early, and I’m really happy he did. Did you play any other sports growing up? I was a big golfer — I played all through high school, and even when I was two


In addition to their recent teach-in on prison abolition, RailRoad has advocated for “fair chance” hiring practices at the University and the eventual disintegration of the Prison Industrial Complex. The event was attended by both RailRoad members and members of the public. prison abolition was a long-term goal that could be facilitated in a number of ways, including creating alternative institutions for justice. Sherif added that society should not assume prisons are necessary institutions to achieve justice. “Our society is constructed in a way that would have us believe prisons are absolutely necessary,” Sherif said while presenting at the event. “People perceive it as crazy, unreasonable, dangerous, too radical. Abolition is not anarchy.” The presenters encouraged resisting the construction of new prisons, strengthening communities and establishing forms of alternative justice as first steps toward abolition. RailRoad is currently leading a campaign to encourage the University to adopt “fair chance” hiring practic-

es, such as including conviction history in its non-discrimination statement and committing to hire a certain number of people who have been incarcerated. They also advocated encouraging New York City Councilman Stephen Levin ’03 to vote against a plan to fund the construction of new jails in New York. Education about prison abolition could create more interest in these ongoing campaigns, said Leah Shorb ’20, a RailRoad group member. “If people aren’t totally on board with the issue of mass incarceration and prison abolition in general, then they may not necessarily be as convinced about fair chance hiring,” Shorb said. She views campaigns like fair chance hiring as a mechanism to move the needle toward prison abolition as well. “Anything that is inter-

rupting the cycle of incarceration is abolitionist to me as long as it’s not further entrenching the system of incarceration,” she added. RailRoad members also discussed other steps toward prison abolition, ranging from the decisions of individual judges to national legislation. At the state level, a judge from Ohio gave one criminal the option of wearing a chicken suit in public in lieu of a jail sentence. At the national level, New Zealand enacted stricter regulations dictating when police can arrest juveniles and implemented a restorative justice approach instead of formal court proceedings. The event’s audience was about evenly split between RailRoad members and members of the general public, Austin said. Marko Milic ’23, a non-member

who attended the event, said previous readings and interactions with the issue of criminal justice system reform led him to the event. “I got introduced to it watching things like “13th” on Netflix,” he said, referencing the eponymous documentary focused on the racial inequity present in the American criminal justice system. Wednesday’s teach-in may not be the last. Austin noted the potential for an in-depth follow-up “prison abolition 201” session that allows for more community discussion. “We want to generate more conversation about all the different ways you can go about transitioning to a world without prisons,” she said. “The information we presented, you could fully unpack that for hours.”

wearing a cap and a mask agreed with Boucher, saying that she came to study in the U.S. in pursuit of better opportunities. She also spoke about her sister who had told her she did not want to have children if it meant raising them in Hong Kong. The discussion at the forum also hit close to home for audience members who have experienced the violent protests firsthand. One student recounted a time this past summer when his bus was teargassed, preventing him from being able to return home after work.

Many participants in the forum were critical of China’s policies toward Hong Kong, referencing intense censorship, the kidnapping of booksellers, the lack of democracy and police brutality. With these sharp criticisms, multiple audience members also clarified that they see the protests as a showdown between Hong Kong civilians and the Chinese Communist Party, not one between Hong Kong civilians and Chinese civilians. Jason Chan GS said he came to the event open-minded and without any

expectations. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan said he “enjoyed listening and learning about the U.S. perspective” toward the protests and appreciated how the forum provided “an open space for people to be outspoken if they wanted to.” At the same time, Chan acknowledged the difficulty of separating politics from personal life in the forum setting. “For me, it’s a very personal thing and it’s hard to talk about it and be objective about it,” he said. Cynthia Bo Huen Ng ’21, who was

also born and raised in Hong Kong, acknowledged the privilege that Hong Kong and Chinese international students have to be able to study abroad and benefit from physical distance away from the protest. But with that, Ng said, comes a “mental distance.” “We do come from a position of privilege, and that makes me very conflicted and at the same time, very sad — talking about these issues publicly in a forum where most people aren’t actually there,” she said.

then besides that everything else I do is just with the team.

I’d probably say just making it to the ECAC Final Four last year … being able to go to Lake Placid with the team and play in that historic rink was really cool. So far that was probably the coolest part, but I have three more years, so hopefully we can make some new ones too.

or three years old I started swinging the golf club around too. Hockey and golf were both really big for me, and then once high school hit, hockey sort of took over and I knew that I wanted to pursue that rather than golf. Do you have a favorite NHL team and player? The Minnesota Wild is definitely my favorite NHL team. My favorite player to watch is probably Nathan MacKinnon, but he plays for the (Colorado) Avalanche. My favorite player on the Wild (is) Jason Zucker — he’s fast and he’s fun to watch.

Do you have a favorite gameday breakfast or meal? Usually on game days, in the morning I’ll go to the Blue Room (and) get a breakfast sandwich. Then for a pregame meal, I usually do pasta and chicken and then I usually don’t eat anything up until the game after that — I like to feel light. Do you have anything that you like to do to get in the zone and mentally prepare for a game? No superstitions or anything — I just always like to listen to music. I have a coffee right when I get to the rink, and

Do you like to listen to music when you work out? I work out to anything upbeat. There (are) these remixes that this group puts out on SoundCloud, and usually in the summer, me and my buddies listen to those when we work out. Those come out every once in a while though, so we usually end up listening to them over and over, but they’re still really good. Has there been a most memorable experience in your Brown career so far?

The Bears return to action with a pair of visits to No. 4 Cornell and Colgate University this weekend. This article has been edited for length and clarity.

In This Issue


Feeling Fierce

Radio in the Morning DANIELLE EMERSON 4

I Am (Not) A Fake


“I can, I will”



Yelling at the

postCover by Julie Sharpe

NOV 8 —

VOL 24 — ISSUE 9


Feeling Fierce

Talking Politics, Creativity, and Joy with Fashion@Brown BY ANNA HARVEY ILLUSTRATED BY HANNA RASHIDI


t 11:00 p.m. on a Monday night early this semester, Fashion@Brown (F@B) President Sasha Pinto ’21 posted an event on Facebook and went to bed. She expected that the event, a Thursday evening talk with renowned shoe designer and entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman, would draw a sizeable crowd of fashion- and business-minded students, but Sasha wasn’t anticipating anything dramatic to happen overnight. By the next morning, however, 100 people had already registered for the event, and just three days later, that number jumped to 350. “I’ve worked on dozens of major events over my three years at Brown, and I’ve never seen anything sell so swiftly,” Sasha told me of the tickets, which were free of cost. “Mr. Weitzman’s message must have resonated with the Brown community.” If anything is resonating on Brown’s campus,

Fashion@Brown certainly is. Founded in 2011, F@B currently has over 100 students working on ten different teams that represent each aspect of the fashion industry. Fashion designers, writers, makeup artists, and photographers collaborate on creative endeavors, while event planners, marketers, and the finance team manage the business side. F@B maintains a robust social media and web presence as well, thanks to a cohort of graphic designers and Instagram aficionados. “One way to think about Fashion@Brown is that we’re a microcosm of the fashion industry in general,” Sasha said. She emphasized that F@B offers a valuable space for Brown students to explore different spaces within the industry that might spark future career interest; unlike other institutions, Brown does not offer a formal degree in fashion. Each winter, F@B hosts a “Fashion Week,”

the centerpiece of which is their annual Runway Show. The impressive event celebrates the work of student designers and models from a wide range of concentrations, including computer science, applied math, and psychology. According to Sasha, the designers throw themselves into their collections “out of sheer love and dedication to fashion,” demonstrating their dedication to their craft outside of their coursework. No need to be a design whiz to join a F@B team, though. When I asked Design Executive Lynn Hlaing ’21 about his previous experience with fashion design, he laughed. “I had never used a sewing machine—I’d hand-sewn maybe a tote bag back in middle school for a Home Ec class—but other than that, I had almost zero experience.” Last year, he debuted a six-piece outerwear collection based around the theme of “unbalance” at the Runway Show. In addition to the Fashion Week events, a glossy photoshoot graces F@B’s website each spring, with a diverse cohort of students modelling apparel that speaks to a theme chosen by the executive board. Some recent themes have included renewable fashion and gender neutrality. Editorial features are published online throughout the year, covering topics like the history of perfume and the return of ’90s fashion á la Rachel Green. One quality unites these activities: They’re all labors of love. No matter how much F@B members care about fashion, however, love isn’t the only thing keeping them there. According to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), understanding dress is “vital to the practice and study of not only art history, but also archaeology, classics, history, literature, and visual culture.” FIT has created an online, open-access timeline of fashion history through the ages, with the first entry beginning with Sumerian civilization (the prehistoric period is awaiting research) and running all the way up to the 21st century. A casual scroll through the timeline reveals how the vast swath of human experience can be contained in a wisp of lace or a string of pearls. Editorial Executive Moe Sattar ’21 elaborated on this concept through the lens of the YSL Le

Letter from the Editor Dear Readers, At post-, the editor’s note is traditionally a space for us to run down the week’s pieces, gathering them around some gentle thematic link to make them topical to the greater Brown community. I’m still going to do these things, but I’m also going to talk about rats. This will be difficult. None of the pieces actually discuss rats—not as characters, metaphors, or objects of discursive contemplation. I refuse to make a Ratty pun, so relevance will elude me as well. Perhaps, in the time before the publication of this note, our campus will suffer a grievous and glorious vermin infestation. But, again, I do not think this is likely. I live in utter filth and squalor and can testify the only pests I’ve amassed are concerned friends who tap on my window each day. Go away. Nevertheless, I’m going to do it. Rats. Get ready. In the Feature this week, we find a nuanced and wide-ranging exploration of Fashion@Brown. Not so wide-ranging, however, as to make space for our

2! POST–

rodent friends. Forced to Google “Rat Fashion” for myself, I discovered a Gawker article from 2010 that called their mink “the new IT fur.” Looking down at my bland, cotton socks, I must say we failed when we declined this bright future. In Arts & Culture, we have a story about bad art (rats, for all their infamy, are admittedly innocent of this particular crime) and a story about diversity in indie rock. This set my mind turning again. The closest the genre ever came to rodent representation was the Walkmen’s classic song “The Rat,” and even that is actually about an annoying ex-girlfriend. Shameful, IMO. Finally, the Narrative section offers an incisive piece on imposter syndrome and a lovely reflection on radio, family, and Native American heritage. What's important, though, is that you can't spell narrative without "rat."

Why We Love That It’s Dark by 4 p.m. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8.

Have a lovely week.

Julian Towers

Arts & Culture Managing Editor

9. 10.

It’s socially acceptable to blast “Sunglasses at Night” in the afternoon You can go to bed at 6 p.m., if you feel like it You can’t tell how much time you’ve wasted just by looking outside Parties will probably start earlier so you can get to bed by a decent hour If you like looking at the sun, you’re motivated to wake up earlier (and be productive?) Your GPA looks better in the dark More darkness means more time for vampires Just when you think it’s too late to finish an assignment due tomorrow, it turns out it’s only 7 p.m.! Dinner can happen earlier, so Second Dinner can also happen earlier The aesthetic™

Smoking—the first tuxedo for women—which debuted in 1966, coinciding with the beginning of the women’s liberation movement in the United States and Europe. It was “wildly popular and incredibly controversial,” according to Moe. The suit represented “power for women,” and after some initial backlash, it was highly praised by the fashion industry. “It was ironic, however,” Moe said, “that many of the very magazines praising the Le Smoking wouldn’t allow their female employees to wear suits to work.” The interplay between the forces that shape our lives can be read in the clothes we choose to wear. In many ways, fashion is the ultimate expression of the second-wave feminist maxim: The personal is political. “National dress is what traditionally distinguished different cultures and gave people a sense of pride,” Sasha explained, “and of course, ornamentation and embellishment are ancient concepts. I think it’s safe to say that fashion in one way or another is human predisposition.” Lynn offered a similar response: “Fashion is always there whether you think of it or not because you’re always wearing clothes...for the most part!” Fashion is a powerful force beyond the individual garments we wear—valued at $3 trillion and employing over three trillion people globally, the industry accounts for two percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Such economic clout is not without its costs, however. Using 2016 as a baseline year, a report by the environmental consulting group Quantis found that, combined, the apparel and footwear industries contribute to 8.1 percent of global climate impacts, releasing 3,990 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. Textile production alone accounts for 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, surpassing all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Clothing made from synthetic fabrics releases plastic microfibers when washed, half a million tons of which seep into the world’s oceans every year—an effect 16 times higher than that of the plastic microbeads found in cosmetics that have been widely derided and even banned in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. These are dismal statistics, but there is hope on the horizon. According to the 2019 State of Fashion Report, nine in ten Generation Z consumers believe that brands have a responsibility to address environmental and social concerns, a sentiment shared by many millenials. Together, these two groups represent $350 billion in spending power in the United States alone, and by 2040, Generation Z is expected to comprise 40 percent of consumers worldwide. The State of Fashion Report also shows that crossgenerationally, two-thirds of U.S. consumers now say they would switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stance on controversial issues. Brands “need to take an active stance on social issues, satisfy consumer demands for ultra-transparency and sustainability, and, most importantly, have the courage to ‘self-disrupt’ their own identity and the sources of their old success in order to realise these changes and win new generations of customers,” the report says. The fashion industry is starting to catch up to the fact that we live in dire times; California is burning as I write this, the climate crisis

extending the length of the fire season. Even though we are living in what feels like the precursor to the apocalypse, there are still those who have hope for the fashion industry, and who are pushing it to be better every day. The Fashion@Brown team is the perfect example of fashion’s future. Speaking about their renewable fashion photoshoot, Sasha emphasized “the beauty of purchasing clothing from vintage and thrift stores as a counterpoint to fast fashion... We’re all about encouraging the Brown community to reuse, renew, and repurpose clothing to make fashion more sustainable.” Lynn foregrounded recent strides in diversity and inclusion as well, stressing that F@B is committed to welcoming people of all identities into its community: “If the opinion set isn’t diverse, it doesn’t really reflect the Brown community, and we’re an organization that’s supposed to reflect the Brown community.” F@B is trying to create a vibrant space for students to enjoy and explore the multidimensional nature of fashion as it exists for them, right here, right now. “Our intention isn’t to be a ‘college copycat’ of Vogue magazine,” Moe said, “but rather an organization and publication that is reflective of the immensely diverse community we have here.” This is a personal issue for many on F@B’s executive board. “When I was growing up, I did not see anyone who looked like me in any magazines I read, when I would be looking at fashion on the internet, or even on YouTube in the beginning,” Editorial Executive Nikita Shah ’21 told me. “It was one type of person, and I didn’t see myself. It’s very important that everyone is recognized.” A self-described “queer woman of color,” and therefore “not someone that fashion is ‘for’” Social Media Executive Nara Benoit-Kornhauser ’22 echoed Nikita’s statement. “My intention with F@B is to always harbor a community of loving and accepting people... The industry is plagued with all sorts of institutionalized issues, and I would never want anyone to feel as though we allow those to exist in F@B.” F@B is, after all, a group of students who love getting dressed in the morning, who relish the opportunity to experiment with their outfits, and who want to share that passion with others. Most, if not all, of them view fashion as a form of self-expression, a form of art, and a way to articulate to the world who they are and who they want to be. “An outfit I’m piecing together often gives me such a nice little boost of self-confidence,” Moe said. “As people, we are always growing and evolving, and the way I dress often parallels different stages of my life.” Growing up as one of the only people of color in her community, Nikita found fashion to be liberating: “I started getting into clothes, and I realized that I liked exploring and trying new outfits, and that became a way for me to take control of how I was seen...just getting out of the box and showing people who I am, besides the fact of my skin color.” Nikita has also found F@B to be a welcome refuge in college; it gives her the chance to exercise her creativity and to write (“which I love”) amid the intensity of STEM classes and pre-med requirements. Nara “has always viewed fashion as a form of armor... I was always the person who went to school

dressed up a little, just because it made me feel more prepared and on top of things.” I know that when I take the time to put on dangly earrings, a vintage jacket, and a slick of lipstick, I feel most like myself. This may not happen every day, or even most days, but taking the extra step to pull myself together has a profound psychological effect—suddenly I feel like I can make it through Monday. Fashion might seem intimidating, elitist, or exclusive, but at its core, it’s just another way to explore what it means to live in the world today. Fashion, like visual art and like music, is a mode of creative communication as well as individual expression, and it can serve as a great unifier. We all wear clothes (for the most part), and clothes carry meanings about our personal and collective histories, about our place in culture, in politics, and on this planet. We may as well share those stories.

I Am (Not) a Fake Redefining Imposter Syndrome BY KAITLAN BUI ILLUSTRATED BY GABY TREVIÑO

I say I’m not a fake, but I’ve often felt like one. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before: “imposter syndrome,” especially common among women (according to research) and especially prevalent at a place like Brown (according to my freshman orientation lectures). But I felt it even before Brown—stiff smiles, midnight tears, my mom’s you do deserve it, you do deserve it, you need to believe in yourself you deserve it. During high school, it manifested itself as self-doubt over my achievements. Typical, perhaps relatable, because it’s the microscope through which many of us see our insecurities. But things have been changing for me. Prodded by the “college journey” of defining myself, I'm pinpointing “imposter syndrome” in areas of my life which should be concrete and nonnegotiable—factual, even. My feelings of displacement, shame, and confusion are appearing in spheres of cultural and generational identity. Are my grandma and I Vietnamese American in different ways because she’s a naturalized citizen and I was born here? Am I really Vietnamese American, or am I an Americanized Vietnamese American? If I’m Americanized, can I ever truly understand my family’s immigrant story? Can I call myself Chinese if I’m merely one-fourth Chinese and the only member of my family who speaks Mandarin is my grandpa? Am I a millennial or a Gen Z-er? Am I a first-gen or second-gen immigrant? First-gen or second-gen college student? Which checkboxes do I mark on my financial aid questionnaire? I feel like I should know myself, but the reality is that I don’t. And that’s where the shame, different from the shame of achievement-related insecurity, comes in. This shade of internal pandemonium seems so much more real because it involves so much more of the world around me: In attempting to define my own identity, I feel the impulse to fully understand the identities of others. It’s an impossible task. The former version of my imposter syndrome was nice, in a way, because as uncomfortable as feeling like a

“When I see people who don’t use hand-dryers, I think, ‘Oh, I see you’re a person of culture as well.’ But then I remember they blow bacteria onto your hands, so people who use them actually have more culture.” “Why is it pitch-black outside at 4 p.m.?” NOVEMBER 8, 2019!3


fraud is, the experience was my own: my awards, my titles, my self-skepticism. This other version is intrusive; I try to un-imposter myself, hesitantly peeking into strangers’ windows and tiptoeing on their lawns, but become an imposter instead. This feels so wrong, but how else can I figure out where I belong, what I can call myself ? Who are you? Am I like you? If you are X, Y, and Z, and if I am X, Y, and Z, then we are the same. Aren’t we? “I” becomes “we.” “We” becomes a label, an easy tag—defined not so much by who we are individually, but who we are socially and categorically. We are Vietnamese American. Chinese. First-generation. And when X goes missing or Y is replaced by B, to what extent do these permutations alter our identities? When I stare at that financial aid questionnaire, the checkboxes mutate into checklists—X, Y, Z—none of which I feel entitled to mark. Am I a fake Vietnamese kid? Though my first language was the language of my grandparents, I can’t read or write it. (Condition X: Vietnamese kids should at least be able to hold a conversation with their grandparents. Another checkbox I can’t mark.) When I was in China this past summer, was saying “I’m Chinese” a lie? I don’t even know how to say “part-Chinese” in Chinese, and I’m technically more Vietnamese anyway. Am I a fake first-gen student? My mom graduated from college, but I’m the first one to attend a school with as much privilege as Brown, and I’m also the first one born in America, and I feel like “the first” in many ways— but I’m still so confused. And I don’t want to “take advantage of” what’s not mine, not even accidentally. Like any good millennial/Gen Z-er (circle one), I turn to Google. Just tell me what I am. what does vietnamese american mean “A Vietnamese American is an American of Vietnamese descent.” what is an american “An American is anyone who loves life enough to want the best that it has to offer.” all the generations in order “Dates are approximate… There are no standard definitions for when a generation begins and ends.” first generation “The term first-generation, as it pertains to a person’s nationality or residency in a country, has two incompatible meanings.” One part of me just wants an easy answer, something straightforward I can accept. The other part of me is happy with these half-answers; my Google yield recognizes the ambiguities—that a “complete” definition of identity can’t be reached. But it only scratches the surface of what any of these terms could encompass. I don’t know what to do with such half-answers, and the 4!POST–

knowledge I need to shape my identity feels inaccessible. What’s more: Google doesn’t discriminate between “reliable” and “unreliable” sources, and those of us who use it typically trust the first five links. We’re fine with Wikipedia answers and feel especially scholarly when a New York Times article pops up. But regardless, these “answers” shape our knowledge—and in this case, our understanding of who we are. The question of reliability is yet another cloud fogging our vision, hindering us from determining who we might be. Maybe what I’ve been saying this whole time is wrong. Maybe I do know myself after all—I just don’t know my labels. How might I reconcile my story with Google’s presentation of the XYZ’s? How might my personal experiences figure themselves into the social narrative surrounding identity? I have a hard time figuring out which is what and what is where and where do I belong. No lived experience can be as monolithic as a label stipulates, but rather than flesh out what my experiences mean for my identity, I’m tempted to slip back into the easy. But when I look at all those half-answers from Google, I just can’t feel comfortable with blindly accepting what it says about who I am. I just can’t scratch the surface and stop there. I might feel like an imposter, but that’s only because I’m quick to dissect myself in XYZ ways. And I might be tempted to slip back into easy (even if incomplete) labels, but that’s only because I underestimate my ability to push the envelope of my selfhood. There are still so many questions and so few answers, but the permutations of my identity don’t nullify my right to define it. And with realizations like that, how could I ever slip back?

Radio in the Morning


The bright morning sun warmed my back. My footsteps crunched, and I could feel the gravel under my worn, blue tennis shoes. The brisk November air chilled my legs. I shuddered, my thin pajama bottoms rippling in the wind. I buried my nose deeper into my jacket collar and eyed the sky. Another clear day with few clouds covering the blue paintbrush smears of the sky. My arms held a new change of clothes and an old towel. Every morning, I made the short journey between my aunt’s trailer and my shimasani’s, or maternal grandmother’s, hogan.

My aunt’s trailer has no running water; everyone in my family knows this. A two-minute trek away, our shimasani’s hogan was where we showered, cooked, and used the toilet. Getting up and ready for school meant walking there, most times half-asleep, past bare trees and stripped cornfields. This walk was completed in silence. Nothing but the occasional bark from our dogs—Asher and Mason, both tied up near my aunt’s trailer—and the whoosh of cars down the dirt road nearby. Even now, I can see her hogan clearly. Small, brown, peeling. The porch, crafted from old cement blocks, wobbled when I stepped onto it. A box in one corner, home to a collection of wild cats—some named, others merely “the one with white ears,” or “the one with black paws.” I always peeked inside, my brown eyes meeting a drowsy collection of dilated pupils. “Good morning,” I yawned. As expected, I received no response. The mother, a large cat with sleek black fur, refused to break eye contact. I took that as my cue to leave, but not before offering a small wave. “Hagoshíí,” I said. See ya. The screen door never shut correctly, and it always screeched when I opened it, the noise making my shoulders scrunch and face crumple. But no matter how unpleasant, it couldn't conceal the sound of shimasani’s radio inside—nothing could. Every morning, I’d walk into her hogan to hear the same station playing. “KNDN, all Navajo all the time!” The radio host spoke with the same rough Navajo accent that many of our elders carried with pride. The entire radio station was in Diné Bizaad, the Navajo language. I could pick out a few of the host’s words. Mostly about advertisements: car dealerships, casino deals, back-to-school discounts at local supermarkets. Sometimes I could translate full sentences—“Kirtland Central High School is hosting parent-teacher conferences this weekend.” Other times I’d only catch the date or place, “Dííjí eí damóo Niłchil’tsosí táá’,” Today is Sunday, November 3, or “Dahghaalgaiidi,” Taking place in Kirtland. But no matter my ability to understand, the radio station offered comfort. If the radio was on, shimasani was already up and working in the fields. During the winter, she always started the stove’s fire early. So whenever we young’uns came over to shower and get ready, we were met with warmth—in sound and in atmosphere. At Brown, a good two-thousand-plus miles away from home, I look back on these memories with yearning: something heavy I carry in my breast pocket, close to my heart and always in the back of my mind. Many of us come to Brown with something pinned to our chests, written on the insides of our wrists. A small token of home: a photo, a song, a memory, a recipe. Something we cling to, consciously or unconsciously. My freshman year of college, I attempted to recreate the lost feelings of comfort and ease I experienced each time I walked into my shimasani’s hogan. The warmth from the cast iron stove crowding my cheeks, the smell of dirt and ash mixing with the air, the instant manifestation of every good emotion I knew—something close to what the English language describes as content. But my sad, empty dorm room did not compare. I’d lay on my bed, listening to Diné Bizaad pour from my busted laptop speakers. A tiny part of me felt something close to comfort, but I couldn't shake the parts of myself that continued to feel lost and displaced. Nevertheless, hearing Navajo brought me reassurance. It brought back memories of cooking with my aunt, of sitting on the porch with my shimasani in the evenings, of entering her kitchen each morning, shivering from the walk. Though these memories brought on pangs of heartache, reminding me of my distance from home, they also managed to ground me in my identity. All the things I thought I’d lost to the past remained through connections both tangible and


intangible. Slowly, as if they had never left, I felt pieces of myself return. Pieces of home, pieces that ultimately make up who I am. Trinkets, tokens, strands, collections, streams, and threads. My foundations: built from tattered photo albums, patched jean jackets, wrinkled finger paintings, and songs I can’t help but sing along to. My memories, constructed and raised by stories shared over dying stove embers, by the smell of black coffee in the morning, and by the feel of brisk November air rushing through pajama bottoms. The bright morning sun continues to warm my back, but from a new direction. My footsteps continue to crunch, though from fallen leaves instead of dirt and gravel. I still complete morning walks in silence, though with a backpack and not a pile of clothes in hand. Wild cats no longer greet me, nor does the comforting warmth of my shimasani’s cast iron stove. But the language of my people and the songs I’ve heard morning after morning, for as long as I can remember, are all a couple keystrokes away; KNDN radio still reaches me. The emotion behind these memories, no matter how painful, fosters strength. I can feel it now—a new kind of warmth, reaching from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes. And reader, no matter where you’re from, I hope you can feel it too.

“I Can, I Will”

On Palehound and Representation in Songwriting BY ERIN WALDEN ILLUSTRATED BY ELLA HARRIS

It’s been a little over four months since Palehound released their third album, Black Friday. First launched in 2013, the project began as a solo outlet for vocalist and guitarist Ellen Kempner and now includes Jesse Weiss on drums and Larz Brogan on bass. When I first listened to Palehound a few years ago, I was taken aback. Kempner’s lyrics felt so close, so diary-like, that listening to them was almost unnerving—like an invasion of privacy. Black Friday continues Kempner’s knack for open and honest songwriting, allowing her listeners to follow her on any and every journey she chooses to embark upon. Against lush soundscapes and gentle guitars, Black Friday weaves together personal anecdotes about body image, sexual assault, and queer relationships while also discussing loneliness, bad tattoos, and public transportation. The result is an album that is personal and moving without feeling like it was written to check off certain boxes to appear relevant and appeal to a commercial audience. In “Aaron,” the second song on the album, Kempner sings about her transgender partner and his transition

process. It is, first and foremost, a love song, written both to and about her partner, represented by the fictional Aaron. But in interviews, Kempner emphasizes that the song isn’t only about supporting him; it’s also about viewing transitioning as an act of self-love and selfrespect from which anyone can take inspiration. “Aaron” begins with the following verse: Your mother wanted to name you Aaron but her body built you as a different man And, my friend, if you want me to I’ll call you Aaron I can, I can, I can, I can, I can, Aaron I can The closing refrain weaves its way throughout the entire song, sometimes changing from “I can” to “I will” but always sung with the same urgency. For a song about transitioning, it touches only lightly on the actions of Kempner’s partner, focusing, rather, on Kempner’s own agency. The refrain seems unprompted, indicating that she will offer support even though it may not have been asked of her. In the final verse, she demonstrates a kindness that doesn’t expect reciprocity when she sings, “And if shutting my mouth will help you turn around, Aaron / I can.” The reiteration of “I can” and “I will” become the primary actions in the song—a promise to unconditionally support. It’s rare to find positive songs about trans people and even rarer to find ones about loving them. As someone also dating a trans person, it’s beautiful to hear the joy that Kempner describes. She sings about seeing her partner tuck in his shirt and about both of them feeling weightless while swimming. It’s a depiction of the small movements they make toward self-acceptance, and what it feels like to watch someone else partake in these acts. It’s also a reminder that there is generative power in sharing vulnerabilities with each other. This song is about what Kempner can do—listen, support, use preferred names—rather than what she cannot. In one of the singles off of the album, “Worthy,” Kempner turns her gaze inward:

I think I better quit I text you late at night I'm in the hotel bathroom Staring at my thighs I remember my body showed Its evils in others' rooms “Worthy” is a meditation on what it means to feel like your body deserves love even when the world is telling you otherwise. Though the indie music scene is becoming more accepting, with musicians and fans working to create safe and inclusive spaces for each other in what has traditionally been a (white) boys’ club, Kempner still must operate in an arena dominated by thin bodies, and heteronormativity. There is an expectation for women in indie rock to be thin, to fit the mold created by those who have previously been allowed to enter the industry. Kempner says that on a recent tour she was “the only plus size person on every bill.” Representation is important, but “Worthy” takes it a step further. It’s one thing to be a visual icon for fans. It’s another to show them how you’ve struggled with the same things they do—a sort of emotional and experiential representation. I, too, have been in a hotel bathroom at night, gazing into the too-well-lit mirror, wondering how on earth my body belongs to me. Wondering how love operates if you aren’t what you think others want you to be. It can be hard to find yourself in music—you may find yourself stretching for meaning, pulling sexualities out of pronouns and emotions out of line breaks. Often, I catch myself morphing verses in my head to create a story the artist probably never intended to tell. But in Palehound, listeners have a songwriter who believes in the power of sharing herself. Kempner says that she has “a bad habit of writing really vulnerable music”—a bad habit for her, perhaps, but quite a gift for all of her listeners. I like to imagine “Aaron” and “Worthy” as two songs in conversation. They open up to each other, acknowledging that you don’t have to “love yourself before you love someone else,” as people say—you can cultivate both loves simultaneously, alongside another person. It’s not only Kempner opening up to the audience and to the “you” in her songs, it’s how she reacts to her partner opening up to her. Through these songs, Kempner creates layers of discussion—two people continuously opening up to each other about feeling out of place in their bodies. Next week, I’m traveling to see Palehound on tour. I imagine I will find what I normally do at shows— overpriced drinks, intimidating people, and a very long line for the bathroom. But I’ll also find a singer whose songs mirror my own experiences, who believes in sharing, who has carved a space for herself and all of the other people listening to her music who also feel at odds with their bodies, love trans people, and want to love themselves too. And as I listen, I’ll join her on a ride that traverses the ups and downs of everyday life, always carrying herself and everyone around her back to the top.

NOVEMBER 8, 2019!5


Yelling at the Screen


It’s 10 a.m. in New York City in the middle of August, and I’m hungover. My friend and I have planned for this: We bought pizza last night so that we could eat it cold today, plus she’s got a bottle of atrocious wine in her fridge. There’s only one thing left to do—sit down, bring up Netflix, and turn on Lucifer. Comfort food and “hair of the dog” are classic hangover cures, small steps back toward humanity; it’d be easy to assume that the mind-numbingly sensational police procedural functions similarly. Basic visual stimuli and unchallenging storylines ought to gradually rev our brains back into fighting shape, but, far from a slow recovery, we’re jumping up and down and yelling at the television within minutes. This injection of bad TV isn’t a gentle wake-up; it’s a slap in the face to get us agitated enough to go out and take on the world. We’re not the only ones with a passion for bad art. I’ll never forget being 13 the year my grandpa first discovered Mob Wives; ever since, he’s loved nothing more than to giggle at the antics of those terrifying Staten Islanders. The constant drama and over-thetop personalities are a wild contrast to his quiet New England life. But, mostly, the awful artwork we love to watch takes itself seriously, or at least appears to. If it was meant to be laughed at, laughing at it would just be passive reception—nothing with which to make our own fun. Of course, you can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a negative review, with YouTube channels like CinemaSins poking holes in the newest blockbuster films and TV series almost daily. However

popular, there’s something joyless about that sort of takedown. When I’m watching an episode of Zoo, I will often literally roll on the floor laughing and audibly yell at my TV—especially if I’m watching with a friend. It’s not just a pastime, but an activity, and a communal one at that. What we’re doing isn’t formal criticism, not really. I’m not bashing any of these TV shows for an audience, because I don’t particularly care if anyone agrees with me, and more importantly, because I don’t actually hate them. Hate implies wanting them to go away, or at least to change. If my rage at these terrible plotlines could change anything, it would either get these shows cancelled or improved. As much as I’d love them to improve for their own sake, neither of those outcomes is what I want when I’m turning wide-eyed to my friend after the latest shark-jumping extravaganza. This isn’t about me wanting to change the world; as curious as it sounds, it’s a form of self-expression. It’s in the tradition of a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast or a screening of The Room where everyone throws spoons at the screen, with the key difference being that my banter is all improvised. I’m not trying to participate in a tradition or join a mass of people united against these works, but rather, to explore for myself and revel in the laughable treasures I find along the way. I can pin my discovery of this practice down to one moment: My friend Betty and I, bored at her house in the summer of 2017, decided to watch the 2006 film Zoom—a family-friendly superhero movie starring Tim Allen. I’d seen the film as a kid and remembered only that I had loved it (literally, nothing else), but Betty warned me it was terrible. I took her on—I’d find out exactly how much my taste had changed, if at all. I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. Zoom is a masterclass in how not to make a movie. It could be thought of as an extremely early prototype of the gritty superhero flick. When it opens, Tim Allen’s


“Then I cried about being a girl who eats hardboiled eggs with her hands while sobbing on a public bus. Since this was New York City, no one seemed surprised by any of this.”

FEATURE Managing Editor Sydney Lo Section Editors Sara Shapiro Erin Walden

–Jennifer Osborne, “ why i left new york” 11.09.18

“It could feel lonely if I let it. My circle is so small that it could suffocate me if I never poked holes in its fabric. But instead, on a muggy Tuesday morning, I can walk peacefully across campus while listening to Julien Baker, tap my hands on my thighs to the beat, look straight into the air, and exhale.” –Nicole Fegan, “a solitary nature” 11.08.17

Staff Writer Anna Harvey NARRATIVE Managing Editor Celina Sun Section Editors Liza Edwards-Levin Michelle Liu Jasmine Ngai

title character has lost his superpowers and is incredibly jaded toward the government testing that has turned his (formerly superheroic) brother evil. This attempt at nuanced morality clashes with the absurd comic book logic that Zoom’s brother could even be turned “evil” by science experiments. The film makes a point of explaining that this is a moral turn and not a mental one. He isn’t warped by rage, his reality isn’t distorted—in this world, good and evil simply exist, and he got switched from one to the other. Meanwhile, the superhero kids that Zoom spends the entire film mentoring to take down the bad guys each perform exactly one action in the film’s finale; their entire existence is a Chekhov’s gun that holds only a single, irrelevant bullet. Zoom, for his part, regains his super speed when the youngest kid— an adorable little girl with super strength—is in danger and he rushes in to save her. His explanation for this rediscovery is that he finally really needed his powers… as if saving his brother and fixing the most traumatic part of his life had not been reason enough. This was only the tip of the iceberg, but it marked the beginning of my love affair with bad TV and film. I had more fun critiquing this movie with Betty than I ever had worshipping it as a child. We laughed until we cried, several times over. I wrote the above summary of our findings not as a screed against Zoom, but as a means of reproducing the joy I felt upon saying them the first time. I wouldn’t want the film to be any different, or risk losing any of that enjoyment in translation. When my friend Jonah and I began watching Zoo later that summer, we did so unironically. We were thrilled by the premise. A reversal of the food pyramid? How it would feel if humans were no longer on top? Equal parts terrifying and fascinating. When they announced that the animals’ increased intelligence was due to a mutation giving them “triple helix” DNA, we realized we were leaping into the deep end of pseudoscientific gobbledygook. Rather than turning off this ever-descending drivel, we instead chased the same rush that Zoom had given me a couple months earlier: I let the commentary fly. The same thing happened with The Flash the next summer, and Lucifer the next, which brings us to today. It’s now a time-honored tradition for me to pick a terrible show each summer and revel in it. So often I define myself by the things I enjoy, works of art that are actually outside of me. This critical habit, on the other hand, is totally mine. These terrible TV shows bring me closer to my friends while challenging me to figure out exactly what is going wrong, as well as the most enjoyable way to express it. Maybe bad TV is too commonplace to be worth writing about, but commonplace or not, it’s comforting to know I can enjoy something like Lucifer in my own company, even when I’m at my loneliest. Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be browsing Netflix...snarkily.

Staff Writers Kaitlan Bui Siena Capone Danielle Emerson Naomi Kim Anneliese Mair Grace Park ARTS & CULTURE Managing Editor Julian Towers Section Editors Nicole Fegan Griffin Plaag Staff Writers Rob Capron David Kleinman

LIFESTYLE Managing Editor Kahini Mehta

SOCIAL MEDIA Head Editor Camila Pavon

Section Editor Caitlin McCartney

Editor Paola Solano

Staff Writers Eashan Das Lauren Toneatto


COPY Copy Chief Amanda Ngo

LAYOUT Co-Chiefs Amy Choi Nina Yuchi

Copy Editors Maddy McGrath Jennifer Osborne Mohima Sattar

Designers Joanne Han Steve Ju Iris Xie WEB MASTER Jeff Demanche

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Students, archaeologists uncover artifacts at ancient Greek site Professor Yannis Hamilakis leads students every summer to Katroulou Magoula BY MARLENE GOETZ STAFF WRITER Professor of Archaeology Yannis Hamilakis leaves his office at the University behind every summer to work in Greece, at Koutroulou Magoula, an archaeological site rich with ancient histories. There, he engages with local communities while uncovering physical remains of the past. For the last three summers, he has invited teams of undergraduates to join him and other archaeologists in excavating the Middle Neolithic settlement. This year, Hamilakis and his team uncovered kilns, a large building and trenches, among other remnants of ancient societies, all of which the team has used to understand more about early cultures. New discoveries at Koutroulou Magoula The Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography Project is an ongoing collaboration between Brown University, the University of London and the Greek Archaeological Service. “The main aim of this project is to understand the social life of Neolithic people but also to understand the uses of that site in later periods,” Hamilakis said. The site was a village during the Neolithic period, which lasted from 10,000 B.C.E. to 4,000 B.C.E. Later, in the Bronze age, around 1,500 B.C.E., and also in Medieval times, it was used for burials. The six-meter-high mound that now resides at Koutroulou Magoula is a result of the gradual rebuilding of houses in the same spot. The team has only excavated a small section of the roughly 10-acre site. This year, the identification of kilns on site was impressive, given that “archaeologists had assumed that pottery at this time, around 6,000 B.C.E., was fired in open fires,” Hamilakis said. “It was a surprise to have found closed kilns for the firing of pottery.” The team also excavated a large, monumental building with surviving walls surpassing more than one meter in height. The size and elaborate construction of the building were very impressive for the Middle Neolithic period, as archaeologists were previ-

ously unaware of such large buildings in Greece at the time. A third discovery was large ditches around the settlement. “We assumed they were used for the management of water both to prevent flooding of the settlement and to collect water to be used for pottery-making and other activities. At the same time it was a symbolic way of defining the community,” Hamilakis said. Hamilakis was originally drawn to Koutroulou Magoula because he wanted to dig at an early site with a less hierarchical model of social organization. Koutroulou Magoula fit that criterion, as it represents a community relying on collaboration. “We do have evidence of community collaboration; for example, the large ditches are significant works to carry out,” Hamilakis said. The ditches, up to six meters wide, would have required a large number of people and a lot of coordination to construct over a long period of time. Pottery technology was also extremely elaborate in the settlement. Prior to the pottery wheel, people used a time-consuming, detailed technique called coiling. It’s evident that the community that resided at Koutroulou Magoula invested significant time and knowledge in producing pottery as well as constructing houses and clay figurines, Hamilakis explained. Found on the site since 2001, the clay figurines are another artifact which can be used to make inferences about the population of Koutroulou Magoula. The figurines are small statuettes, sometimes taking form as human beings and other times representing hybrids between birds and humans. There were about 450 found on site so far, and there exist several hypotheses about their purpose. In addition to perhaps representing symbols of communication or being toys, Hamilakis thinks “the most interesting (hypothesis) is that they were experiments with what it means to have a human body and relate to other beings or animals.” Undergraduate student involvement Since 2016, Hamilakis has brought undergraduate students to Greece, to facilitate their training in excavation, participation in on-site seminars and design of independent projects for four weeks in the summer. Each undergraduate student was able to fall into their own niche on the site. Amsel Saleem ’21.5, who is concentrating in international and public affairs, was fascinated by the various


The ancient site of Koutroulou Magoula holds kilns, figurines and trenches that reveal a collaborative community from the Middle Neolithic Period, which lasted from 10,000 B.C.E. to 4,000 B.C.E. archaeological experts invited for the seminars. “There were experts for every little find,” she said. Finds included pottery shards, animal bones, house models, figurines and ground stones. “It was so interesting to hear them talk about the minute things that we were finding in the trenches and have someone tell us what we found and why (it was) significant.” Saleem’s independent project was framed toward the ethnography of the region. Her final product was a “fictional interpretation of what happened at the dig. … I wanted to combine ethnography into it. I put the experience of all of us: students, teachers and locals participating into a fictional construct,” Saleem said. Eleanor Eng ’21, who is concentrating in computer science, worked on a photogrammetry independent project, which entailed “making 3D models of areas and objects by photographing them and running the photos through a program to stitch them together.” Eng mapped the big trench on the site as well as regions with scattered pottery and several kilns. The images

RESTROOMS FROM PAGE 1 ly Garrett reaffirmed the need for this feature of the BrownU app. Garrett said the center was also looking to create an online interactive bathroom map, but CIS had already begun the project before Garrett spoke with the department. “They’ve done a really good job supporting our initiatives,” Garrett said. “I think students were happy about it.” CIS is now working on an updated version of the app that would utilize students’ mobile location services to help them locate the nearest inclusive restroom. Obodda said she will continue to look for ways the app can make inclusivity as effortless as possible. “What could be more inclusive than inclusive restrooms?” Obodda said. “It’s a basic need.”


The app, released by Computing & Information Services, will help users locate the over 200 gender-inclusive restrooms throughout campus.

she created are “very useful in preserving the proportionality and relative positions of features in the site. So much about the state of the site can change in a year, so if the excavation continues in following seasons, things might look different,” Eng said. Collaborating with the local community Along with the archaeological work, Hamilakis feels very strongly about having close ties with the local community. Each year, the team engages in community archaeology, where locals visit and participate in the excavation process. At the end of the season, they also produce a theatrical performance about a theme related to the site. “We do that to communicate some of the results we found during the season, and to create a place of cultural exchange and interaction among archaeologists, students and local communities,” Hamilakis said. In addition to the site being a location of culture, interaction and knowledge, “it’s really important that the community feels a sense of responsibility towards, and ownership of, the

site,” Eng said. “This experience emphasized to me that technology can play a role in the past as well as the future,” Eng said. She encourages others to get involved in fields and opportunities they have little exposure to. One of the most valuable outcomes of her experience was “getting to do things with people of so much expertise in an area that you might not be exposed to otherwise.” Similarly, Saleem added, “what I learned is that you are immersed into the nitty-gritty of it, how hard it is, how physically draining and how mentally draining it is. You’re thrown into a separate environment that you’re not used to and a different culture, and you learn so much.” Hamilakis emphasizes that “archaeology can be fun. Excavation is not just about the past. Archaeology involves both past societies and contemporary societies. It’s a site where different communities and people are brought together and is also a place for artists and others to gain inspiration and experiment.”





The 2019 Major League Baseball season came to an end last week with the Washington Nationals completing their magical playoff run, defeating the powerhouse Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series. The thrilling Nationals used a steady stream of dominant starting pitching and timely hitting to capture the franchise’s first championship. But now, it is time to turn the page and think about the offseason, as stars (notably from the two World Series teams) hit the free agent market and look to command sizable contracts. The MLB landscape could undergo a dramatic shift in the coming months. Let’s take a look at some of the top free agents, and see where they might end up. Gerrit Cole Cole is coming off of a tremendous season with the Astros, who should regret not using him in Game 7. He won 20 games, struck out a league-leading 326 batters and finished with a 2.50 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Cole finished fifth in American League Cy Young voting in 2018, and will, in all likelihood, end up first or second this year. The 29-year-old is truly a premier pitcher, featuring a blistering fastball and devastating breaking balls. He often looks untouchable on the mound. The one blemish on Cole’s resume is his early-career underperformance. He entered the big leagues as a Pittsburgh Pirate with enormous expectations, but after a 2015 All-Star season, posted mediocre numbers in 2016 and 2017. Still, no lingering concerns should follow Cole, since he’s overpowered hitters ever since a trade to the Astros gave him a change of scenery. He is right in the prime of his career and will receive an enormous contract. The Los Angeles Angels could be a great

landing place for Cole. The Angels have no reservations about signing big contracts and are desperate to return to the postseason for the first time since 2014, adding manager Joe Maddon last month. With Cole and Mike Trout, the Angels would boast plenty of star power. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers will also likely have roles in Cole’s deliberations, but they might not be willing to spend as

“The MLB landscape could undergo a dramatic shift in the coming months. Let’s take a look at some of the top free agents, and see where they might end up.”

much as the Angels on a pitcher. The Philadelphia Phillies could also consider signing Cole, since they are eager to contend. Still, the Angels seem to be a likely option for him. Prediction: Los Angeles Angels, 8 years, $250 million. Anthony Rendon Rendon, who is also 29 years of age, has blossomed into superstardom over the past couple of seasons. He solidified his standing in the league with clutch performances in the playoffs, hitting home runs in both Games 6 and 7 of the World Series. In the regular season, he amassed 34 homers, 126 runs batted in and a 1.010 OPS. He’s consistently performed at a high level in his prime, posting a cumulative .952 OPS over his last three years. Rendon plays solid defense at third base too — he is an all-around player with no clear weaknesses.

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The free agent should command a contract similar to that of fellow third baseman Nolan Arenado, who signed an extension with the Colorado Rockies for eight years and $260 million earlier in the season. Rendon is almost a year older than Arenado and does not have the same fielding ability, but that legendary postseason will help to boost his considerable credentials. Rendon has shown that he can step up in the

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sport’s biggest moments. The Nationals will look to re-sign Rendon, one of the faces of the franchise. Other teams in the National League East like the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, who both have holes at third base, could look to entice Rendon. He is from Texas, so we could hear some chatter about the Rangers over the next few weeks. The Dodgers might want to make a splash by signing Rendon and upgrading their lineup after another postseason disappointment. Still, all signs point to the third baseman staying with the Nationals — they just won a championship and he’s played for them his entire career. Prediction: Washington Nationals, eight years, $240 million. Stephen Strasburg Strasburg became a postseason legend this year, posting a 5-0 record and a 1.98 ERA in six play-

off appearances. To top it off, he won the World Series MVP. After years spent slightly under the radar in the shadow of star Max Scherzer, Strasburg won’t escape the spotlight in the future. He had one of his best regular seasons at the perfect time, recording 251 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP to set himself up for a large contract. The big question, as always with Strasburg, will be his health. The 31-year-old has only thrown more than 175 innings four times in 10 MLB seasons. After entering the majors as a highly celebrated prospect, he largely disappeared from the national conversation after missing several periods of time due to injuries. Teams could regret signing a pitcher at the back end of his prime who already can’t be counted on to throw 200 innings in a season. Still, when Strasburg is on the mound, he performs, and his starts in October matter more than his missed starts in the regular season. Franchises will line up for the chance to sign him. The Nationals, of course, will look to resign the right-hander, but it might prove too expensive to return both Rendon and Strasburg. Big spenders like the Yankees, Phillies and Dodgers will most likely be in the running. The San Diego Padres, however, could emerge as a perfect option. San Diego has not shied away from signing large contracts, spending on Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado in back-to-back offseasons. The Padres have a core of exciting young players (Fernando Tatis Jr. has already emerged as a star), and Strasburg, who pitched for San Diego State University in college, is an ace who can take them to the next level. Prediction: San Diego Padres, 6 years, $190 million. George Klein ’20 can be reached at george_ Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald. com and op-eds to

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Ask more stupid questions BY JOHNNY REN ’23 STAFF COLUMNIST The other day during a math lecture, I raised my hand, and I asked a question — a stupid one. It was one of those questions that you regretted as soon as the words came out of your mouth. In that moment, I wished for a real-life rewind button or a spell for amnesia that I could quickly cast on the other 70 students in the room. But, alas, in a world without magic, I was fated to suffer the consequences. Growing up, I was a serial hand-raiser. In elementary school, I would strain my right arm skyward whenever my teacher asked a question, waving my hand frantically to draw their attention. Since those days I have definitely toned my hand-raising habits down a bit, but during middle school and high school, I continued to be a willing contributor to class discussions. There is a saying in education, often espoused by teachers, that “there are no stupid questions.” Philosophers and pedantic sixyear-olds alike might take issue with the dogmatism of this statement. Regardless, it conveys a worthy pedagogical approach — to say that there are no stupid questions is to say that all questions are worth asking. But the reality of the classroom differs, as many things do, from its ideals. How can we actually create a world where all questions are acceptable? Although it’s not easy, we must embrace our own ignorance, and ask all questions anyway. I say this as someone who speaks up often. From the outside looking in, it might seem as if I am a product of that all-inclusive educational philosophy, a poster child for “no stupid questions,” someone who has figured out how to ask a question without equivocation. In truth, it is quite the opposite. After all, the classroom is but another so-

cial setting, and I often worry about how I am going to be perceived. When the lecture moves too quickly, I wonder if I am the lone straggler failing to understand the content. Will the question I ask be too obvious? Is it absolutely necessary? In my mind, there are a variety of considerations all at work, all at once. I find myself evaluating my own thoughts, more than I would care to admit, against an imagined, ev-

act of bravery. The issue I have with the phrase “there are no stupid questions” is that it creates a dichotomy — between the stupid and non-stupid — and then ignores the distinction as if it never existed at all. In all honesty, I do think there are stupid questions. “Stupid” might be a crude way of putting it, but I can think of many synonyms that reveal our own internal cate-

“The imagined consequences of a stupid question are almost never as bad as we fear them to be.”

er-growing rubric of factors, used to determine whether what I have to ask is worth asking. I wonder why I do this, especially in a world where “stupid questions” supposedly do not exist. Why is it so hard to speak up? Part of the issue may have to do with the way discourse works in a classroom. In my view, it is much harder to ask a question than it is to answer one. When you raise your hand to respond to a prompt in class, you are given the opportunity to display what you know, share your knowledge or at least speculate on a possible solution. But when you ask a question, you are doing the complete opposite. You are acknowledging what you don’t know, and everything you say before the question mark becomes a verbal manifestation of your own ignorance. Asking a question, then, is an act of bravery, and asking a stupid question is an even greater

gorizations. Obvious. Simple. Embarrassing. In reality, people curate their speech all the time both consciously and subconsciously to avoid asking these kinds of questions. A couple years ago, I started a challenge for myself. The challenge went something like this: when people would use a word that I didn’t know when I was talking to them, I would ask them what it meant point blank. I wouldn’t feign understanding. I wouldn’t even successfully accomplish my task all the time, but I tried my best, and my vocabulary grew as a result of the experiment. I also found that I felt more free as a person, more open about what I did and didn’t know. Throughout the process, I asked a lot of questions that I still consider to be quite stupid. I asked about words that I would have known if I had paid more attention in English

class and words that were common knowledge, just not to me. What I realized is that instead of saying “there are no stupid questions,” we should simply ask more stupid questions. There will always be those questions that we perceive as obvious or embarrassing, and to ignore those feelings would be to ignore reality. We should ask what we want in spite of those hesitations. This principle applies beyond the classroom as well. During my first weeks at Brown, I learned many names and forgot a fair amount of them as well. When I would run into familiar faces at the Ratty or in class, instead of pretending to know all the names that had escaped my memory, I would simply ask. It was a little bit uncomfortable to bare my ignorance to the world, but it was worth it in the end. The second time around, the name would usually stick. All of which brings me back to that day in math class. The lecture had come to a pause after my question, and I was getting quizzical looks from some other students. I was a little red in the face. But nothing bad happened. My teacher pointed to the board and quickly resolved my misunderstanding. The lectured moved on. In short, the imagined consequences of a stupid question are almost never as bad as we fear them to be. That said, the anxiety we feel before asking can have real impacts on whether we choose to speak up at all. These feelings can be augmented by the context and the identities we hold. Speaking up is rarely an easy task. But we should strive to ask more stupid questions. There is a reason why stupidity and bravery are often mistaken for each other. Johnny Ren ’23 can be reached at jiawei_ Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald. com and op-eds to





‘Costs of War’ project initiates research series to evaluate post-9/11 wars Watson series to provide data, analysis of costs, consequences of ‘20 Years of War’ BY AUBREY LI STAFF WRITER As federal spending on the post-9/11 wars has ballooned to $5.9 trillion, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs joined with the The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University to initiate a new “20 Years of War” research series this fall. This research endeavor marks a new phase of the Watson’s larger Costs of War project, which has worked to provide data and analysis of the costs and consequences of the War on Terror. The Costs of War project at the Watson was initiated in 2010 by Catherine Lutz, professor of anthropology and international studies, and Neta Crawford, professor and chair of the department of political science at Boston University. It has drawn over 50 researchers from around the world to produce over 70 papers thus far. The project aims to demonstrate the human, economic, social and political cost of the post-9/11 wars to policy makers and the public. The new, two-year “20 Years of War” series will focus on producing new reports and adding to existing data to paint a more comprehensive

PREGNANCY FROM PAGE 1 Huntington’s disease and genetic testing alongside neurologists. In writing her popular books, she partnered with an obstetrician for her first book and a pediatrician for her second. Recently, she has been doing academic work on “biases in observational data that are created by recommendations.” Oster’s first book, “Expecting Better,” was released in 2013. During her first pregnancy, she set out to make sense of the common rules that pregnant women often follow, but rarely question. New York Times bestseller “Cribsheet,” released this year, has a similar premise, and it essentially picks up where “Expecting Better” left off — in the delivery room. At the end of “Cribsheet’s” introduction, Oster writes, “The goal of this book is not to fight against any particular piece of advice, but against the idea of not explaining why.” Since 2013, “Expecting Better” has only become more popular. “More people started reading it. … People liked it and passed it to their friends,” she said. The book’s popularity was again reborn when then-pregnant standup comedian Amy Schumer endorsed “Expecting Better” a few months before “Cribsheet” was set to be released. In an Instagram post in April, Schumer wrote that Oster “got (her) through pregnancy.” She later interviewed Oster on her Spotify podcast, where she thanked “Expecting Better” for “shining a light on the truth.” “You can’t pay for that kind of publicity,” Oster said. Schumer is not the only new mother to find solace in Oster’s books. Both books are considered relatable and informative — they allow for meditation on facts alongside Oster’s personal,

picture of American spending on foreign wars. The “20 Years of War” series will cover regions such as Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The aim of the project is to change the way people think about war, Lutz said. “We hope to be able to orient ourselves not just to these wars, but to the idea that the war paradigm itself is poorly understood,” she added. “So our goal is to also effect that way of thinking — about any war that any state engages in.”The new series received a $450,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is supported by the Watson Institute and the Pardee Center. According to the Costs of War project, the American expenditure on post9/11 wars is not just monetarily expensive. It also carries great indirect costs on society and the environment. “We just had a paper comment on climate change in the ways that the War on Terror has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, and the ways that (the) U.S. military, if it were a country, would be the 55th largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world,” said Stephanie Savell, the project director and a senior research associate of the Watson Institute. The project also includes research on other secondary costs, such as the refugee crisis, veteran welfare and lack of health infrastructure in war zones. The Costs of War project has garnered public attention in recent years. Through a briefing on Capital Hill, the project gained “a lot of legitimacy ... within congress and (gave) sometimes comedic, anecdotes about her life, pregnancies and experience raising her children. Schumer called Oster “the non-judgmental girlfriend holding our hand and guiding us through pregnancy and motherhood.” “Cribsheet” covers a wide range of topics about childbirth and child-rearing — from breastfeeding to vaccinations, language development, potty training and the general stresses of parenting, among many others. “A fairly large number of (the topics) were things I thought about or struggled with when I had my kids.” She also worked with focus groups to determine what else parents were wondering. “I do a lot of research … thinking about my parenting in a way that is informative about the books and that is informative of my own experiences.” Today, her two children are past the preschool-age scope of “Cribsheet.” “I’m now lost. I just do whatever,” Oster joked. As she was experiencing pregnancy for the first time while writing “Expecting Better,” Oster was just as surprised by some of her claims as her readers were. For example, on the topic of bed rest, she had initially thought, “maybe it wasn’t always a good idea, but it was often a good idea.” Instead, she found that “it is more or less never a good idea,” and her review of present data challenged a long-held medical convention. Research for “Cribsheet” didn’t bring about as many shocking twists, Oster said, because parenting advice is usually less prescriptive. Although her books are both based on existing research, Oster relied on her own health economics background to make sense of the material and weave the data together in a way that made it both colloquial and ac-


The “20 Years of War” series, which began at the Watson Institute this fall, will build upon the Cost of War project’s existing data on the human, economic, social and political costs of the post-9/11 wars. us a lot of credibility in the eyes of the mainstream media,” Savell said. In one case, the Wall Street Journal wrote an extensive feature about the budgetary costs of war. The Guardian also published an op-ed by Savell on the cost of war in Somalia. “The working relationship is good for both universities — raising awareness (for) what the other is doing,”

said Heidi Peltier, project director of Costs of War at Boston University. The collaboration continues to foster conversations about the project’s focus. “What is happening in the US is that a lot of people forget that we are still at war,” she said. “Because we are paying for war out of debt … we don’t feel the immediate costs,” Peltier added. Savell stresses that the project

should be seen as a bipartisan resource. “The works that we do are to educate people and … promote this issue in the public debate,” she says. But “when you look at the data and the research that’s presented … it sort of speaks for itself in terms of what we need to do,” Peltier said.


Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Economics Emily Oster increases the accessibility of her data-driven advice on pregnancy and parenting through personal experiences. ademically rigorous. In terms of doing research for her books, “there’s … a little piece of creating new knowledge,” Oster said. “But I think a lot of what is challenging about that is … that I’m trying to think about how to synthesize that knowledge in a way that lets people engage with it and understand it.” Oster has been able to interact with her readers through events and through social media platforms like Twitter, where she goes by @ProfEmilyOster. “There’s definitely an Econ Twitter … world. I think it’s actually a super interesting way to think about getting research out there,” she said. Oster uses Twitter to meld her different lives together. “It’s sort

of uncurated,” she said. Her profile’s feed is composed of tweets about her children, her academic papers, economic principles in general — and all of those fragments help her formulate connections with others in her field or fans of her books. Oster is already well-connected in the academic world of applied economics. In mid-October, it was announced that her graduate school thesis advisor, Michael Kremer, an economist and professor of developing societies at Harvard, won the Nobel Prize in Economics. “When your graduate school advisor wins a Nobel prize, that’s awesome,” she said. Oster worked for Kremer before she officially started

grad school, and that winter he asked her to spend a few days over Christmas drafting a paper on a tight deadline. “I got a chance to do that, and (now) that paper is cited in the Nobel Citation.” Beyond educating the public, Oster has taught a variety of courses at Brown, and will be teaching a new course in spring 2020 called ECON 1430: “The Economics of Social Policy.” Oster recommends that students engage in research. “There is this sort of special moment in research, where you kind of know something, or you see an insight or make a connection that no one has made before.”

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Friday, November 8, 2019  

The November 8, 2019 issue of The Brown Daily Herald

Friday, November 8, 2019  

The November 8, 2019 issue of The Brown Daily Herald