Middlebury

MiddLab

Women and Identity

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity.  In her interview, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah describes her life journey from Ghana, where she lived until she was nine, through her arrival in Middlebury as a member of Posse, and her discomfort with the sometimes circular assumptions from other Middlebury students that if you are black and a Posse scholar, then you are poor, not, if you are a Posse scholar, you are a leader. She also felt that as a black woman, she was an object of interest and at times her body was not her own, and in particular her hair was an object of interest. The ultimate question is, what does it mean to be a student of color at Middlebury?

Barbara Ofosu-Somuah

Middlebury Posse Scholar 2011

Watson fellow, 2013-2014

Will Nash

Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures, Faculty co-Head, Wonnacott Commons

 

Interview Transcript

 

 

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity.  In her interview, Shirley Collado talks about growing up Dominican in New York city, the influence of her maternal grandmother and how the decision to be part of the Posse program and attend Vanderbilt University changed her life.

 

People

Shirley Collado

Dean of the College

Susan Burch

Associate Professor of American Studies; Director, CCSRE; Head of Life Stories project

 

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A MiddLab Project

Prestige

Coffee, Heptathlon, Thesis

Julia Sisson, Studio Art Senior Work 2012

 

Prestige: Coffee, heptathlon, thesis

I see prestige as a velvet-lined room filled with cigar smoke and old white men.  A concept embedded within nostalgia, something that my predecessors have pursued and achieved through good, hard, and honest work.  It is a type of honor gained through completing actions in the most pure or difficult ways possible.  This conceptualization has managed to saturate and motivate too many of my decision-making processes. I have sought it out in order to assert myself as a member of society—something that I feel I lack as a woman, artist, introvert, Midwesterner, or student within a rigorous academic institution.  However, in looking to ascend my own ladder of achievement, I end up simultaneously pushing myself down.  Seemingly absurd and useless knitted objects in my work serve to expose the absurdity of my own decision-making, but also question why we code and value certain objects different than others.

 

Special thanks to Professor Sanford Mirling, Rebecca Gooch, the Studio Art department, friends and and family for all their help and support in completing this project.

 

 

 

Heptathlon (2012)

Sod, mixed media, yarn

 

Thesis

Desk, mixed media, yarn

Coffee (2012)

Kitchen, mixed media, yarn

Other Works

Nap.pal (2011)

Wood, recycled foam, mixed media

          

 

Ndánk, ndánk mooy japp golo ci ñdaay (Slowly, slowly one catches the monkey in the forest–Wolof Proverb) (2012)

Teapot, quilt, steel, mixed media

           

Musical Accompaniment for _Ndánk ndánk…_

 

 

A MiddLab Project

CCSRE Life Stories Project: Susan Watson

Learn more about the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity  at Middlebury College.

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity. In her interview, Susan Watson discusses adapting lessons from High School to teaching in college, her strategy of isolation for dealing with being a woman in a predominantly male field, the TA who became her mentor in college, lunch discussions with past generations of female physicists, the importance of brutal honesty in mentoring colleagues, how the size of Middlebury has helped her get to know students, and creating an environment where people are encouraged to succeed.

People

Susan Watson
Professor of Physics

Susan Burch
Associate Professor of American Studies; Director, CCSRE; Head of Life Stories project

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A MiddLab Project

CCSRE Life Stories Project: Missy Foote

Learn more about the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity  at Middlebury College.

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity. In her interview, Missy Foote talks about crafting homemade lacrosse sticks for her team in Chester, VT, the early days of Title IX implementation and women’s athletics, having to share the women’s locker room with opposing teams, how sports are defined by race, the tug between academics and athletics, the difficulty of recruiting, how technology is changing sports, the pleasures of living in Middlebury, and her philosophy of coaching.

People

Missy Foote
Head Womens Lacrosse Coach, Director of Physical Education, and Senior Women Administrator in the Athletics Department

Lydia Jun, Will Nash, and Judy Olinick
Interviewers

Jon Luis Castro
Interview Transcriber

Susan Burch
Associate Professor of American Studies; Director, CCSRE; Head of Life Stories project

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Turkey maintains the image of a country bridging the divide between the Middle East and Europe; however, the continued prevalence of honor killings testifies to the difficulty in uprooting traditional patriarchal practices that remain widespread throughout the country. Although the Turkish government has enacted legal reforms – for instance, in 2002 and 2004 – aimed at eradicating the practice, new laws have been mostly ineffective and evidence indicates that both honor killings and the practice of “honor suicides” are actually increasing. My research explores this tension between secular government laws banning honor crimes and the continuation of honor killings within traditional and tribal communities. I argue that despite government efforts to educate the Turkish populace and institute legal reforms, the complex relationship between the cultural, patriarchal, and religious bases of honor killings makes it challenging to eradicate this practice in modern Turkish society.

People

Clara Rubin
Researcher

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This project examines how the figure of the split mother in folk tales has changed over three historical eras. First, it focuses on two oral tales originating in the Early Modern period: “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Juniper Tree.” It also looks at Lucy Lane Clifford’s “The New Mother” (1882) and Neil Gaiman’s novel, Coraline (2002). The project examines the cultural and historical anxieties involved in this Good Mother/Bad Mother split. Finally, it questions whether today’s notion of the unattainable ideal mother continues to reflect the prejudices of the Early Moderns and Victorians.

People

Emily Culp
Researcher

Elizabeth Napier
Sponsor & Henry N. Hudson Professor of English and American Literatures

Marion Wells
Sponsor & Associate Professor of English and American Literatures

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