Hi everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful spring semester so far and are diligently working to obtain the coveted A on all of your midterms. The past few weeks at William & Mary have been packed with essays, exams, applications, club meetings, and so many campus events that I haven’t had a free moment. February is when many organizations, clubs, and specialized housing send out applications and conduct interviews for students joining in the fall semester. After filling out quite a few of these applications myself, I am so excited to announce that I am now a member of the Italian Language House and Summer Study Abroad Trip to Florence with my roommate and fellow blog extraordinaire, Sally Wade! I am also volunteering at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, working in a new AMP committee, practicing on a co-ed intramural soccer team, and interviewing to become an Orientation Aide!
For the past six weeks, I have been taking a one credit short-course taught by Hispanic Studies professor John D. Riofrio on National and International Minority Studies. The course is a group discussion that culminates in a colloquium called Subjugated Histories, Decolonizing Practices that Professor Riofrio organized with the Future of Minority Studies Organization at the college this weekend. My class has been reading papers written by many prominent professors and activists from universities across the country on topics such as Human Rights, Critical Pedagogies, Native Issues, Decolonization, and Race and Immigration. The national colloquium then talks about these ideas in panels and discussions between the students, professors and activists. The interdisciplinary issues discussed are then related to national current events and controversial issues like the Arizona Bill SB 1070 and Affirmative Action.
One of the panels that I went to this weekend at the colloquium was lead by Stanford Professors Paula M. L. Moya and Hazel Rose Markus. Their presentation, 8 Conversations about Race, was an eye opening and informative discussion on their ideas about race and ethnicity in America. (Their opinions and arguments on the subject drew from research and studies written in their book Doing Race that my class had read and discussed earlier in the semester.) Moya and Markus argued that race is not something that humans have inside of them- genetic and biological differences-but instead a set of processes that people DO. This view was a totally new way of conceptualizing race that I had never thought of before. I found their ideas on the eight conversations fun and accessible because they gave pop culture and current events as examples like Avenue Q’s song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”, a Colbert Report Clip, and the Sesame Street song “I Love My Hair” during their presentation. Moya and Markus’ ideas and research are only one piece to the puzzle in the discussion of racism, minorities, and prejudice talked about at the colloquium. I know I am not nearly as eloquent in explaining the in depth ideas that they present in their book- so definitely follow the links below to find out more about their views!
Being part of this class and event opened my eyes to controversial topics such as race, and it has given me the knowledge and opportunity to start forming my own opinions and views on the current social and cultural state of our country. This whole experience was so different than all the other courses that I have been in so far at the college. After taking more fact based classes like art history and natural psychology, it was refreshing to see the new and emerging ideas on race at the colloquium as well as getting to formulate my own views in discussion.
Ok. That was about the longest blog ever! I promise to instead write less and more often. I wish you all a wonderful, fun, relaxing, and safe spring break.
Learn more about The Future of Minority Studies mission, Moya and Markus’ book Doing Race, and read Professor Riofrio’s blog about the Colloquium by following the link below!
Doing Race: http://humanexperience.stanford.edu/doingrace
FMS Website: http://www.fmsproject.cornell.edu/about_overview.htm
Rio’s Colloquium Website: http://wmfms.blogs.wm.edu/