FRIENDS UNLIKE ME 3
TTLG: THE STRANGENESS 5
THE CONFINES OF CARDBOARD 7 LILA HOVEY /THE DARTMOUTH
2// MIRR OR
Game Turnout at Dartmouth STORY
DIVYA KOPALLE/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
Culture is a notoriously amorphous concept. To some, it encompasses the arts, food and language associated with a particular group of people. To others, culture might be more clearly aligned with factors like race, gender, religion and politics. However you may conceptualize the term, culture is intrinsically linked to our daily lives and is constantly changing. Especially this week, as we celebrate Dartmouth’s culture during Homecoming, it is important to consider how we can think mindfully and critically about the issue. This week, the Mirror tells a host of stories rooted in culture. We examine how students are feeling abut the separation of the Middle Eastern Studies and and Asian Studies, Cultures, and Languages programs a year after the fact. We explore how certain study abroad programs facilitate understanding of international cultures. We reflect on the multicultural experience. We look into sports culture at Dartmouth, and we tackle the concept of self-segregation within the College. The stories we tell this week only scratch the surface of what culture means to people. But we hope that this week’s issue helps you to consider what culture means to you and what it might mean to those around you. And we hope you think about how the definition of culture changes every day.
10.09.19 VOL. CLXXVI NO. 77 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DEBORA HYEMIN HAN PUBLISHER AIDAN SHEINBERG MIRROR EDITORS KYLEE SIBILIA NOVI ZHUKOVSKY COPY EDITOR JULIAN NATHAN ISSUE LAYOUT GRANT PINKSTON
By Charlie Ciporin
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since hockey team, said that while non-athletes between the two. And I love my nonarriving on campus occasionally come athlete friends just as equally as I love three weeks ago, it’s “For the average game, to games, they my athlete friends,” Santucci said. that Dartmouth usually know at Markell also said he believes that most people that are rarely makes sense. least one player on athletes tend to self-segregate due to Many aspects of there are just going a personal level. their schedules rather than character this school have to be able to know “For the diﬀerences. left me flustered average game, “I wouldn’t say there’s anything like — namely, how someone on the team most people that ‘athletes and nonathletes don’t hang out’, to order stir-fry or are in the same club are there are just it sometimes just works out that way, but at Collis or why going to be able it’s not by design.” or organization.” GreenPrint takes to know someone Coppedge agreed that while athletes at least 45 minutes on the team or are and nonathletes are not wholly divided, to print out a two- -HARRISON MARKELL ’22 in the same club athletes do tend to spend more time page document. or organization,” together. However, one Markell said. “Dartmouth is a pretty integrated aspect of Dartmouth that has particularly Peter Coppedge ’21 does not campus. I have a lot of friends who are stood out to me is the discrepancy participate in sports on campus, and his athletes, but probably more who aren’t. between the prominence of athletes and experiences line up with Markell and I wouldn’t say that NARPs and athletes the lack of support for their games. Santucci’s perceptions. He said that he are two divided groups on campus, According to the College, nearly will attend sports games with his friends they’re pretty integrated, but I would say 25 percent of students on campus for fun if there is a big crowd or a speciﬁc that the sports teams on this campus are participate in intercollegiate sports. team member that he wants to support. deﬁnitely more of a group that is insular However, most non-athletes are rarely “I think than other groups on seen on the stands. In fact, the College more athletes go “I kind of wish there campus,” Coppedge has recently taken measures to incentivize to support other said. Dartmouth students and members of the teams than NARPs wasn’t all of this talk Coppedge also Upper Valley to attend games by oﬀering [ n o n - a t h l e t i c about ‘athlete vs. noted that while giveaways and organizing tailgates, regular persons] many Dartmouth among other tactics. Turnout has been do, but also I would NARPs,’ because I students seem to have slowly increasing, but the numbers are say of the NARP genuinely don’t think boundless school still low. If there are so many athletes on population there’s there’s any diﬀerence spirit, it does not campus, shouldn’t sports games be much at least 20-25 usually translate to bigger events? percent that still between the two. supporting teams on On Saturday, my ﬂoor and I went to go to games pretty And I love my nonthe field. Santucci the varsity soccer game against Princeton religiously.” also said that she to support one of our floormates. So, does an athlete friends just as believes having Looking around the stands, I soon “athlete culture” equally as I love my more school spirit noticed that we were some of the only existatDartmouth? surrounding athletics athlete friends.” non-athletes in the crowd. Most of the If it does, it’s could make student supporters seemed to have come from not intentional, life more enjoyable. other teams and didn’t seem to be in Santucci said. She -ISABELLA SANTUCCI ’22 “To have that support of a particular player. said that athletes element of school Isabella Santucci ’22, a ﬁeld hockey hang out together a spirit would make our player, conﬁrmed that other athletes majority of the time because they share social lives more fun, and I think other usually make up the majority of the similar interests and schedules. Athletes teams on campus would just have a lot crowd at most games. She said that teams tend to stick together out of “conveince,” more fun as well knowing there’s such a show up at games to oﬀer support for Santucci said. strong fanbase,” Santucci said. their fellow athletes. Santucci also expressed the beneﬁts Most students at Dartmouth tend “The soccer team, for example, of having non-athlete friends, saying it to agree that we juggle busy schedules, came to one of my games last week. was often refreshing to have connections athletes and non-athletes alike. But the The whole team was there, their entire outside of the tight team bond. next time I receive a blitz to come to team supporting our team, so that made “I kind of wish there wasn’t all Burnham at 4 p.m. on a Friday, I will us be like, ‘Ok, now we’re all going to go this talk about ‘athletes vs. NARPs,’ take the extra eﬀort to support my fellow to one of their games,’” Santucci said. because I genuinely don’t think there’s classmates and show up. And hey, I might Harrison Markell ’22, who is on the any personality or character diﬀerence just have a lot of fun in the stands.
MIRR OR //3
Friends Unlike Me STORY
By Cris Cano
It was summer 2012, and I had just finished up eighth grade. In just a few months, I would be flying from Texas to sunny south Florida for my first year of boarding school. It was a miracle made possible by scholarships, meaning my family wouldn’t have to pay anything. Back then, I didn’t frame my identity around terms like first-gen or Latinx. I was coming from a small suburb, and as far as I was concerned, my main identities were being a bassoon player in the school wind ensemble and a diehard Nintendo fan. Things like the color of my skin and my family background were present, sure, but they weren’t things I thought about often. One aspect of my identity that I was concerned about, however, was my new status as a boarding student. My high school was unusual in that its boarding program was actually smaller than the day program, with only around 100 students in the dorms each year. As I scoured online forums, trying to find out as much as I could about the school before August, I came across an interesting comment: Boarding students tended to stick together, and they didn’t really hang out with day students much. I quickly decided that I didn’t want to limit my friendships to only other boarders — I wanted to also be friends with day students. And that’s exactly what I did, to the point where my main friend group was almost entirely day students. I even felt like it was easier to be friends with day students than boarders. Given the demographics of my high school, it was inevitable that I’d be spending most of my time — or, as my dad liked to phrase it, “rubbing shoulders” with — wealthier classmates and their families. But even differences in family income aside, there I was, intentionally seeking out day student friends when it would have been easier to just be friends with other boarders. I think that’s when I started prioritizing having friendships with people very different from me. “Self-segregation”isatermcommonly applied to the phenomenon of people dividing their social groups based on identities like race and socioeconomic class, but it’s not a term that everyone
approves of. I spoke to sociology and women’s, gender and sexuality professor Janice McCabe, who researches college students’ friendships, and she explained the issue that arises when you look at the word “segregation” more generally. “I think that most people view segregation negatively,” she said. “It tends to draw attention to just one dimension of identity, while we all have intersecting identities, although they may not all be equally salient or noticeable or important to us at any given time.” McCabe went on to explain that a useful way to frame discussions about the phenomenon is by using the language of researchers: specifically, distinctions between different types of diversity. Structural diversity, for example, relates to the percentages of who is present in a certain space, while interactional diversity has to do with who’s interacting with each other. Friendships, she explained, are an additional step forward, as they are more intimate than simple interactions. For students of color — the group most likely referenced when discussing “self-segregation” — interactional diversity is almost certain, given the nature of Dartmouth’s student body. Students of color are likely to interact with people different from themselves on a daily basis, regardless of who their close friends are. “If you’re a black student or a Latinx student on Dartmouth’s campus or other predominantly-white campuses, you can’t go about your day without encountering people who are different than you,” McCabe said. “But you can certainly have more control over your close friends and who you spend time with in that way.” When I got to Dartmouth, I was eager to make new friends. I had never been to a place as diverse as Dartmouth before, at least in terms of socioeconomic class. I wasn’t the only poor kid in my high school, but I was one of just a few, and there weren’t enough of us to form any kind of community. Here at Dartmouth, I thought, for once I’d actually get to meet people similar to me, too. At Dartmouth, and especially during the First Year Student Enrichment Program for first-gen students, I quickly
learned that having shared identities on paper doesn’t always mean having had similar experiences. Going to a boarding school didn’t magically make me rich or white, but it seemed to have created some kind of distance between me and other first-gen, low-income students. It’s not that people were mean or dismissive — no, most everyone I met was kind, and some of the people I met through FYSEP would become some of my best friends. But there were a lot of little things. Like never being sure if I should talk about my high school experiences because they were so obviously more privileged than others’. Like feeling not Hispanic enough because I didn’t know certain songs and dances. Like watching others feel most comfortable with people who looked like them and feeling guilty for not feeling the same way. Jasmine Butler ’21, like McCabe, takes issue with the term “self-segregation,” admitting that while she still uses the phrase herself when talking about how she navigates social spaces at Dartmouth, she thinks the term “self-selection” might be more accurate. Butler characterized her own friend group as primarily low-income students of color before describing the diversity within that very group, naming categories such as race, nationality, gender identity, sexuality and interests. She said that at Dartmouth, she feels most safe and comfortable with people whose lives are similar to hers — and other friend groups on campus are organized similarly, albeit around different identities. “When prospective students or others ask about Dartmouth social life, I tell them that almost every group of friends at Dartmouth is organized around something,” Butler said. “Whether it’s personal social identities, campus organizations, freshman housing assignments or something else, most groups of friends found each other through some means of social or societal organization. She added that many students participate in “self-segregation” without being aware of it, but it’s only when it happens with certain “hyper-visible” identities, such as low-income students of
color, that it tends to be viewed negatively. She compared groups more commonly viewed as self-segregating with a club sports team, asserting that the friendships formed between the prior are no less organic than the latter, even if others perceive them differently. I’ve spent a good chunk of my Dartmouth experience trying to sort out feeling out of place in communities where people are supposed to be like me. Freshman year and the beginning of sophomore year, for example, I told myself that the best thing I could do was inhabit less diverse spaces and be the representation I wanted to see. First with being a tour guide, then by volunteering for First-Year Trips and finally with rushing a fraternity, I told myself that I could take advantage of the fact that I felt comfortable in these spaces — no doubt a consequence of going to boarding school — to hopefully help others feel more comfortable. If they saw me inhabiting these spaces, someone who was clearly not the stereotypical rich, white Dartmouth man, maybe I’d be doing some good. Looking back now, I think my intentions were in the right place, but I don’t know if I did as much good as I originally set out to do. I never quite got over the cognitive dissonance of wanting to visibly represent identities that I myself struggled to embrace, and as my time at Dartmouth continued, I slowly shifted away from the “be the change in diversity you want to see” mentality. Studying abroad in Italy sophomore winter was a breath of fresh air; for once, I could simplify my identity down to just “an American.” I remember being especially proud of a paper in which I wrote about how learning Italian was liberating precisely because I had no obligation to learn it, unlike with Spanish — a language that, at the time, I felt guilty for not speaking better despite having such a clear cultural connection to it. I slowly took steps to address feeling out of place in certain communities. I decided to get back into Spanish classes sophomore summer. I co-led Dartmouth’s delegation to the 1vyG Conference for first-gen students at Princeton junior winter. And then I spent
junior summer in Puerto Rico, getting far away from the Dartmouth bubble after seven consecutive on-terms. In the end, however, I realized that trying to fit into those communities was the wrong goal all along. There was nothing wrong with those communities or the people in them, and I definitely learned a lot about myself as I worked through my insecurities, but by then, I was already part of plenty of great communities. I just needed to stop doubting myself. Isaiah Martin ’21 considers himself a drifter in that he can fit into many different groups without feeling like he fully belongs. He said that he has also found solidarity in other AfricanAmerican students who share his racial identity, but offered a different take on why these groups form. Martin believes that how certain groups experience Dartmouth, more so than their previous experiences before Dartmouth, affect how they form friend groups. He explained that students entering Dartmouth are entering a campus with an already-defined social structure, and a uniting factor among friend groups is often how they feel viewed by the rest of the student body. “What I’ve seen is that even people who joined groups because of a certain self-identity … Maybe they’ve had very different experiences [in the past], but the experiences they have at Dartmouth are very similar, and that’s where they find a common ground,” he said. “It’s not necessarily where they came from that brings them together, but it’s what they’re experiencing on a daily basis.” It took until senior fall, but I’ve finally gotten through so many of my insecurities and feelings of being out of place. The communities I found comfort in at Dartmouth weren’t always the ones based on “obvious” shared identities like race and family background — and that’s okay. Everyone deserves to find the spaces and people that make them feel like they belong, and what those are for one person don’t have to match what they are for anyone else. As for me and my best friends? We have a lot in common, and we’re all pretty different, too. Just how I like it.
Did You Change Abroad or Did Abroad Change You? 4// MIRR OR
By Elizabeth Whiting
Studying abroad has morphed relationships with the University of into a sort of gilded item on the Auckland students and professors college bucket list. Students have with whom Dartmouth students many reasons for studying abroad. take classes. Dartmouth students Some seek travel, exploration, a are also taught by Māori professors change of scenery or maybe just who are passionate about the an escape from a particularly history, culture and politics of New cold season in Hanover. Zealand and the Māori people. Anthropology professor Sirey Zhang ’20 said he Sienna Radha Craig acknowledges decided to apply to the program that students are driven by many in preparation for his thesis, which factors when deciding if and where addresses how colonialism has to study abroad. Craig is the faculty shaped the culture and delivery director for the of women’s and A n t h ro p o l o g y children’s health Foreign Study "The first goal is to in Tanzania. Program in try to understand and Zhang said he Auckland, New felt the classes Zealand and unpack the individual enabled the she said that students' motivations program’s she considers for studying abroad. participants s t u d e n t s ’ to become m o t i v a t i o n s Why go halfway more informed when shaping around the world to travelers. the course “I decided of a study study?" to participate abroad trip. in the “The first -SIENNA RADHA CRAIG, A n t h ro p o l o g y goal is to try FSP prior to to understand ANTHROPOLOGY embarking on and unpack PROFESSOR my six months individual in Tanzania to s t u d e n t s ’ get a baseline motivations understanding for studying abroad. Why go of how colonialism and capitalism halfway around the world have shaped the daily lives of people to study?” Craig remarked. around the world,” Zhang said. Craig said that the central Zhang approached the theme of the Anthropology FSP program with a careful investment in is settler colonialism and how understanding the lives of the local it has impacted the everyday Māori people as well as the politics lives of the Māori people of of greater New Zealand. Zhang New Zealand. She also related said the trip made him “hyperit back to our lives as Americans. aware” of settler colonialism, the “Settler colonialism is also culture the Māori people and racial part of our inheritance here in and socioeconomic issues — both America; we are also a settler in the context of New Zealand, and colonial society,” Craig said. also how the issues arose within his Grounding the goal of life. Zhang said he felt that, with a study abroad experience in the care that the College put into understanding both the experience the program, the students were of another culture and how its able to experience the culture of history impacts the quotidian New Zealand with open minds. lives of its people allows students “We took a lot of time to to relate their own lives to the look up the things that were stories of those around them. sacred or profane,” Zhang said. Craig encourages students to foster Zhang said he ended up
understanding more about Māori but we mostly spent time with “I always felt like a politics than the white New Zealand Dartmouth kids,” Hubble said. foreigner in Cape Town, but I families they stayed with in the In addition to studying could blend in in Beijing like I second portion of the trip during astronomy in Cape Town, Tiao said couldn’t before,” Tiao noted. homestays. she also studied Of course, the experience Z h a n g "Without the context abroad in Beijing of every student studying abroad credited this for the FSP. She vastly differs case by case, with to his classes, it's hard to get participated in each student carrying their own which he anything. I could live the Astronomy history, background and opinions. said provided FSP primarily Sophia Miller ’22 studied him with there for 10 years and to complete her Arabic in Morocco as part of the k n o w l e d g e not know anything." course work Language Study Abroad during the he might not in addition to summer after her freshman year. have picked participating in She lived in a homestay with her up organically. -SIREY ZHANG '20 observations but 1-year-old host brother, a 10-year“Without said she went old sister, 11-year-old host brother the context to Beijing to and a 14-year-old host sister. it’s hard experience the “I tried to make an effort to get anything. I could live place and learn the language. to spend a lot of time at home there for 10 years and not “That trip was really hard with my host family,” Miller said. know anything,” Zhang said. and it was the first place [where I] Miller said that her Many other study abroad really wrestled with my Chinese- conversations with her host family programs face the similar American identity; it’s really and the excursions she took with challenge of providing students thrown into your face,” Tiao said. her 14-year-old host sister Yasmine with an immersive cultural For Tiao, most of her taught her most about the culture experience. Margaret Hubble ’21 learning of the culture came and lives of the people in Morocco. participated in the Astronomy through mundane conversations However, she said that FSP in Cape Town, South Africa. and everyday Dartmouth She laughed as a result of one interactions with culture still my own initial misunderstandings locals. This was "I always felt like a permeated her about their trip to an observatory. in contrast to foreigner in Cape experience in “We were observing the sky, her experience Morocco and not the people” Hubble said. in Cape Town, Town, but I could the dynamics Though obviously a joke, this where Tiao blend in in Beijing like I of the group. misunderstanding may have actually said she felt “It was couldn't before." proven to be true. Participants that Dartmouth weird to be Nicole Tiao ’20 and Jackson Rich students did not away but not ’21 both described spending time have to interact -NICOLE TIAO '20 totally away,” with mostly Dartmouth students, as much with Miller said. excluding some nights out in the culture E a c h Cape Town and interactions with or people program comes two South African astronomers. without seeking it out. In with its own unique structure, Whereas in Auckland, Dartmouth Beijing, she and her Dartmouth place, goals and people. Many of students take classes taught peers found it unavoidable. the most memorable experiences by Māori professors alongside Tiao recalled that her students described were not students from the University experience in Beijing challenged planned or put into an itinerary. of Auckland, in Cape Town, her to confront her own identity, Tiao observed that merely looking Dartmouth professors exclusively whereas Cape Town offered at a culture does little good if you taught the Dartmouth students on her little to grapple with. neglect to look at yourself. Students the Astronomy FSP. The students “Cape Town was very often return from studying abroad also live in a seperate apartments fun and just that. Nothing feeling “changed,” but the onus lies for international and exchange changed,” Tiao said. on the student to bring personal students. As a result, interactions Tiao also reflected on how curiosity and commitment to between local students and her background may have played a their trip — pursuing interaction Dartmouth students were limited. part in providing her with a more beyond what Dartmouth plans, “We didn’t really interact personal and immersive experience and a willingness and desire with those kids. We said hi in Beijing than in Cape Town. to see themselves differently.
The Strangeness of It All TTLG
MIRR OR //5
By Holden Harris
I’ve read parts of the Bible. I’ve gone to church services. I’ve sung hymnals. I’ve been baptized. I’ve been confirmed. I’ve eaten the blood and body of Christ. I’ve memorized the Lord’s Prayer. But I do not consider myself a Christian. Never have, probably never will. I’ve never had faith. My life has been too real for that. In these past few years, I have slowly been convinced of a type of “fate,” or some higher workings beyond our control. I don’t really know what to call it. There have been a few defining moments, all linked to one another, which only makes me think “Huh, maybe. No. I mean — just maybe.” Let’s start at the beginning and you’ll see what I mean. The First Moment: My father drove me up from New York City to Hanover to finally understand why it was called the “cult” of the Ivy League. I was skeptical. Especially because of its “somewhat” (totally bad) history. As we drove up West Wheelock’s ridiculously large hill, I woke up from a deep slumber. As my eyes opened, I remember passing some students dressed in weirdly colorful outfits, skipping up the street. “It is a cult,” I must have thought. But once we began walking around campus, not with a tour, there was this feeling. A feeling like “This will do,” but to a higher degree. The campus was beautiful, and very secluded. I simply could picture myself there, walking those sidewalks and through those buildings. I had made the decision on the car ride back home to apply Early Decision. At the time, it felt like a pretty bold move. The Second Moment: During my freshman summer in New York City, my mother had convinced me and my cousins to go to Lincoln Center after I had eaten dinner several blocks away. It was the perfect opportunity to take some photos for my Instagram. I hadn’t posted in a while, and after all, I wasn’t addicted. The water fountain in the center was going through its regular spray-strangerswith-water routine. My cousin was
my photographer, and the plan was to get some silhouetted pictures with the fountain in the background. (They turned out quite nice.) When I was walking back toward my cousin, a man stopped me. He was dressed very nicely. So was his girlfriend. I didn’t know this man. And he didn’t know me. “Are you an actor?” he asked. I had hung up my cape, given up on the profession. Well, not quite entirely, I suppose. “Yes, yes I am,” I think I said. “You look like one,” he responded. He told me he was an actor on the Luke Cage Netflix series. I still didn’t recognize him. But I believed him. He swung his arm around his girlfriend and proceeded to walk away. In that moment, all I could feel was excitement. The dream hadn’t died. Not yet at least. The Third Moment: There is a world in which I would still be pursing physics, math and astronomy here at Dartmouth. That world quickly died when I signed up for Acting I. The first couple days of that class felt awkward, but that was to be expected. As time went on, I started to really devote myself to the work. During the final presentation, my scene partner and I were to act in scene about a failing marriage. I distinctively remember shattering a mug in the prop-sink. I was not thinking “I’m going to totally shatter this mug right now.” It just happened, impulsively. For a moment, I forgot I was in a class and was being watched, until I heard the audience gasp in shock. I was living under imaginary circumstances. The Fourth Moment: In the fall of my junior year, I was at a small theater program in New London, CT. My Acting I professor, as well as another student, convinced me that this was the next step in the process, whatever this process was. To this day, I can’t exactly describe to anyone the experience I had at that place, but I know that it was the place where acting became clear
COURTESY OF HOLDEN HARRIS
to me. I was cast in a workshop as Tom in the Glass Menagerie, a play by Tennesse Williams. Right before the performance, I decided to take a much-needed nap. During this nap, I dreamt of performing the scene, but I was trying, the entire time, to fight back tears while onstage, and I had no idea why. I woke up in a cold sweat. When the time came to perform, I remembered the dream. I remembered the anxiety. But more importantly, I remembered that feeling of holding back the tears. I focused on that. And there, on that day, my eyes teared up on stage, purposefully, and at the right moment. Things clicked that day.
And here I am, a senior at Dartmouth, a theater major modified with English, and I’ve done things that would have baffled that kid posing in front of the fountain in Lincoln Center just a couple years ago. I’ve found passion and the determination to push myself beyond reason to chase the work I love. As an actor, it is your job to make sense of the world — and the character — no matter how strange. It’s what I love to do. And I think that’s what I felt during my visit at Dartmouth. The strangeness of it all. It made no sense to me. Nothing made sense. And now that I’m here, it still makes no sense. But this place is wonderfully unpredictable. You will likely go on many random journeys
with people you’ll likely have never met otherwise. Now, there is no way I conjectured all of that within two hours of visiting Dartmouth. But I still felt it, somehow. I can’t explain it. I smiled on the car ride home, and so did my dad a few times, I think. I know my future down this path is uncertain. I’m sure many people feel that. So I’d like to end with a quote. It’s from Jim Carrey when he gave a commencement address at Maharishi University of Management: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” So, do I believe in fate? Only sometimes. When I need to.
6 // MIRR OR
Students Reflect on MES and ASCL Split a Year Later STORY
By Anne Johnakin
Until a little over a year ago, the Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages and Middle Eastern Studies programs were organized under the umbrella of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies program and the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Language and Literatures. In a February 2018 article published in The Dartmouth, comparative literature and film and media professor Dennis Washburn commented on the restructuring. “The new program will help us think of Asia not just as Asia, but as a global phenomenon,” Washburn said at that time. As Washburn referenced, Asia is an incredibly complex continent, and as he said, the restructuring of the departments sought to realize its global implications. This split has allowed the programs to focus more deeply on their subject materials and offer more comprehensive course listings, according to ASCL program chair Allen Hockley. Sara Cho ’20, who is an ASCL major, explained how a lot of students were confused as to why the two cultures were ever grouped together. “It made no sense to have them together in the first place. Geographically, culturally, linguistically, everything is just so different,” Cho said. Hockley agrees, saying that previously, the department functioned with each unit operating independently of each other, so that the restructuring just made sense. “It’s easier to create a community that works better together,” Hockley said. “The Middle East requires certain types of courses that are very different from the types of courses for East Asia or South Asia.” The MES program now offers a major and minor, focusing on social sciences, politics, languages and cultures within the Middle Eastern region. Luke Bienstock ’20 is a government and MES double major. He said he decided to pursue MES after taking the initial language track and going on a study abroad program to Morrocco. Since the restructuring, the program has done a better job of bringing attention to all
SAMANTHA BURACK/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
of the different opportunities they offer, including classes, guest speakers and Arabic club, according to Bienstock. “When they revamped it, they started with all these new speakers coming to campus for a few days, which was pretty amazing,” Bienstock said. “This giant focus of the people and the issues of the region jumped out to me.” In addition to the opportunities the MES program provides, a lot of the department’s strength comes from its professors, Bienstock said. “I could not ask for better professors,” Bienstock said. “They’re all so enthusiastic about teaching students Arabic and the fact that … they’re from Arabic speaking countries makes a huge difference.” The ASCL program has a major and minor with two tracks students can choose to focus on: content or language. Hockley noted that the structure of an ASCL major allows students to dive deep into a specific topic that interests them, as well as receiving a broader interdisciplinary education. Cho said that growing up as KoreanAmerican has caused her to find a lot of value in her ASCL education.
“Majoring in this has been a really cool opportunity to study [Asian cultures] in a more academic and formal setting. Also, it’s really expanded my own perspective,” Cho said. “After taking a lot of courses, it’s made me very appreciative of the different cultures and perspectives people come from.” Moving forward, the ASCL program is working to continue growing and adding more faculty, according to Hockley. Hockley also said that the program is looking to add Korean, Hindi and Urdu as language offerings since the program has enough resources to support expansion into other relevant cultures. Hockley also said that professors are in the process of developing new language study abroad and foreign study abroad programs, including programs in Southeast Asia and a Korean LSA+. Hockley said that he was encouraged by the strenght of enrollment numbers in general education classes, as well as the number of new majors and minors and the diversity of interests they represent. This year and next year will be critical in determining the strength of the program and how it will proceed in the future, he said.
Freshmen have already started being said that he has learned a lot. exposed to these programs in classes “Although Arabian Nights has to this quarter, including MES 16.07, do with … Middle Eastern culture as “The Arabian Nights East and West.” a whole, there’s a lot of themes, motifs This course provides an introduction to and aspects that are universal,” Po said. Arabo-Islamic culture as seen through “It really brings home the fact that we the lens of A Thousand and One are all human, and we share the same Nights. experiences no matter how far different Georgia Dawahare ’23 said that the our cultures seem to be.” class has led her to rethink her former For Hockley, offering this broad perception of the Middle East. cultural experience is the most “It’s changed important part of my stereotype of these programs. Middle Eastern “Irrespective of what “Irrespective of culture as well your major and minor what your major as the stereotype minor are, are, if you think about and o f wh at t h i s i f yo u t h i n k novel is about,” the Middle East and about the Middle Dawahare said. Asia, especially your East and Asia, “So now I know especially your it’s more than a generation, that’s generation, that’s children’s story … a huge part of your a huge part of your It has a lot deeper world,” Hockley world.” meaning than you said. “And it’s would think.” not going away. Josh Po ’23, -ALLEN HOCKLEY, ASCL Being culturally another student in competent with the class, echoed PROGRAM CHAIR those places, even these sentiments. if it’s only a literary He came into the quarter not knowing tradition or a religious tradition, is really much about Middle Eastern culture and critical moving forward.”
MIRR OR //7
The Confines of Cardboard ESSAY
By Lucas Joshi
We have this obsession with boxes. summer. On the outside, I am as They carry our Amazon orders, enough Indian as my grandparents deliver our late-night pizza and house who voyaged to the United States our most nostalgic possessions. Boxes in pursuit of a life with greater enshrine our memories and act as opportunity. My sister and I never portals to our past. heard Gujarati spoken in our home But boxes can also reduce. They can and learned only English throughout place a collection of often intangible our adolescence. When we returned belongings in the constraints of one to India, the language barrier often weight and one size. It is no surprise, left us feeling like foreigners in a then, that the confinement of people country that dominated our diverse into a singular box of identity hinders culture. the cultural I live expres s ion of in the heart of My ancestors were our world — a the Chesapeake world that could African slaves, and Bay, surrounded never find a way they were Irish and by farmland and to box my own very few people m u l t i c u l t u r a l Scottish immigrants who share my heritage. image. The and Indian doctors. My story is challenge had But for my sister and not unique. Yet, a never been being box large enough me, skin color, not white enough, to fit more than cultural upbringing, but rather, being one culture never too white that it seemed available. came to define our box upset the singular M y a n c e s t o r s of limitations. box of cultural were African identity. From a slaves, and they love of ’70s folk were Irish and Scottish immigrants music to saying “y’all” in just about and Indian doctors. But for my every setting, I came to know that sister and me, skin color, not cultural my embodiment of traditional white upbringing, came to define our box culture was a sign of inauthenticity. I of limitations. am the product of the charm found Much like the in my small town, c a rd b o a rd o f It was not black and yet I disrupt our culture, we the balance project a constant culture that had of my own notion of being excluded my sister and multiculturalism. “enough” onto The dark skin me; it was society’s people of all complexion, the s t o r i e s . C a n one idea of the culture taste for acoustic s o m e o n e b e that prevented the music and the Indian enough, love for tennis fit yet still claim welcoming of those the conventional white a n d who challenged it. image of Indian black heritage? heritage and Somewhere, I am white upbringing. quite sure there lies a perfect mix There was a single idea, a single of this heritage and expression. notion of black culture that I could Nineteen years into life, I stand no never fit. closer to finding this balance than I In exploring this “single story” do in fitting the perfect, conventional that defines our conception of culture image of multiculturalism. and identity, Chimamanda Ngozi My skin is that of my father’s, Adichie’s words reflect the adversity brown and exceptionally tan in the of simplification.
“ T h e s i n g l e s to r y c reates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story,” Adichie said. It was not black culture that had excluded my sister and me; it was society’s one idea of the culture that prevented the welcoming of those who challenged it. The balance of multiculturalism had not been one of equality nor just distribution, even when taking equal pride in the many cultural influences that shaped our being. We all have complex identities, no matter our cultural background. And we have boxes for a reason: They help us conceptualize concepts that are difficult to label. However, sometimes we forget that concepts like culture and identity are impossible to be fully realized under a single label or in a single box. We’re not all complicit in this pressure to conform. In fact, people
with multicultural experiences are forced to conceptualize our identities outside of a single box every day. I had always been “not enough” in some aspects of my life but also “too much” in others. I was never able to fully fit into one box of cultural identity. For a long time, I felt like it was a disadvantage that everyone else seemed to fit in and I couldn’t. Now, I recognize that by not conforming to a singular box, I am able to access
many different cultural experiences instead of just one. I balance multiculturalism like I do with life: imperfectly and yet in a way that I find fulfilling. This single story is not indicative of the individual mulitcultural experience. I, like many others, am still in the process of tearing the cardboard of my own cultural box and of driving my own multifaceted experience.
8// MIRR OR
By Olympia Nagel-Caland