Smile

I believe in the power of a smile. A smile can be a subtle twitch of the jaw muscles or a large grin with both rows of teeth showing much like every one of my childhood pictures when I didn’t even want to take a picture and had been crying just 30 seconds ago. Smiling is like the Ebola Virus, It’s contagious.

That’s why one of my goals every day is to smile, whether to myself or to someone else or even a complete stranger, If I can in any way brighten someone’s day by making them laugh or smile, well then that’s exactly what I’ll do. Although I have to note, smiling at complete strangers sometimes brings undesirable results such as their boyfriend trying to fight you.

Anyways, to sum it all up I believe in making people smile or laugh. Putting a smile on the face of someone who had been and gloomy beforehand is really what I live for. And if I make someone they laugh, that’s even better because it’s nice little confidence booster when someone laughs at my “Why did the chicken cross the road” jokes. It’s sort of like the feeling you get when you get away with shoplifting or that feeling of danger and adrenaline that you get when you miss a step on the stairs. Knowing I brought happiness and joy, even if it was just for a couple of seconds, into anyone’s life really, makes me feel good.

It may not seem like a big deal, but since I could remember I always came home with certificates that state on them, “best friend to everyone”, “easiest to get along with”, “funniest person” or even in some cases more aggressive cases where my parents weren’t happy “class clown”, “Absolute degenerate that never stops talking and keeps making his classmates around him laugh” you know, all that good compliment stuff. But really, all I cared about is that me, as well as the people around me, were having fun, no matter where we were.

In fact, one of my most noteworthy achievements is based on the power of a smile:

A landslide carrying 1 million cubic meters of land, mud and trees. A huge flood. People missing, 20 confirmed deaths, homes destroyed, wild animals roaming the streets of the capital. That was the scene that I arrived to only a day after getting back to my home country Georgia on June 13th, 2015.

It was a brutal scene and the costs were very high. The government couldn’t take control of the situation by itself, so getting the city back on its feet was all up to the volunteers.

Seeing people coming up from the steps of the zoo that day, I could see tens of small children crying and begging their parents to do something about what had happened but, obviously, they couldn’t just go and catch the lion that had run away from its non-existent cage.

I gathered my friends the very next day and headed down to the zoo. It was gone. The landslide had completely scratched the zoo off of earth’s surface. A place of joy was now one of sadness. It was up to us, the volunteers, to rebuild the zoo. The first day we spent looking for possible survivors under debris, the second day it was time to grab a shovel and start digging. On day 5,  10 minutes into the work I heard there was a black jaguar on the loose on a street very near to us, we obviously went after to chase it, but by the time we got there, it had already mauled 5 people and had been put down. My friends and I cleared out an unbelievable amount of earth. By day 7, the debris was almost all gone.

On day 10, I asked the workers at the zoo if my friends and I could help rebuild the historic site, in terms of the cages and all. They accepted the offer as they needed all the help they could get. As they gave us the necessary tools, we went at it. I spent the whole summer volunteering at the zoo. I remember finishing enclosure after enclosure. Still, it was a sad sight, it looked abandoned with no one to inhabit the newly built compounds. I remember thinking that It would’ve been fun to have human gladiator fights in the cages instead, have a little throwback to the golden age of Rome. But the Zoo keeper laughingly brushed my comment off, not knowing I was dead serious.

However, a year after, along with other activists who helped get the zoo back on its feet, I was invited by the administration to celebrate the reopening of the zoo. A place that was silenced by destruction was now filled with laughter. I couldn’t have been more proud as I felt like I’d really made an impact. As I said to me, seeing someone happy with a wide smile on their face is priceless, that’s why I felt that rebuilding that zoo was one of the most noteworthy things I’ve done. Not only had I had an actual difference, but I saw and heard the smiles and laughter of the zoo staff that welcomed me back as well as the dozens of children around me, happy to see the deadly mongoose back in its cage.

Blogdock Kollage: Stories from In My White Tee

Dr. Regina Bradley is an Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Bradley obtained her Ph.D. in English from Florida State University with a major area of African American Literature and Culture and a minor area in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her first short story collection, Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South, was published in April of 2017.

Front cover of Boondock Kollage

Last Wednesday, Dr. Bradley did a reading of her book at the Margaret Mitchell House. She read three excerpts from different short stories and the book itself is divided into three different sections: Reaching Back Around, Long Division, and Stitches in Time. One thing we noticed about Dr. Bradley’s style was how she would almost take up a persona in each of the stories. The stories consisted of things that happened to her or people around her, yet she maintained a third-person limited omniscient perspective throughout. We decided that we would structure our presentation in the three different perspective narrative style that Dr. Bradley did during her lecture. Each perspective will focus on a different section coupled with our personal experiences beginning with Reaching Back Around.  

Daquon’s P.O.V

Being that he’s perpetually busy and has a terrible sense of time, it was no surprise that Daquon found himself running late again. His coffee chat with another member of his fraternity went longer than expected and Daquon now had to face one of his greatest fears: Complex! Knowing that he would be late and accept his lack of knowledge of Complex, he preemptively texted one of his group members, Faith, and said: “I’m on my way to complex but I don’t know complex at all and am probably gonna get lost.” He eventually reached Complex and went inside of a small lobby area that had a faint smell of musk and mothballs. Daquon knew if he’d ventured any further, he would be overwhelmed with the feeling of being in the newest Maze Runner film. Luckily for him, he peered out the window to see Faith running up a hill. As he left the foul-smelling lobby, Daquon went around the corner to find both of his groupmates, Faith and Rachel. In a whirlwind, the two girls passed Daquon while telling him that their Uber driver arrived and was waiting for them. With the addition of rain, Daquon knew he was in for an interesting night. One very interesting Uber ride and walk through downtown Atlanta, and the group finally arrived. Daquon’s inner Grinch started to come out when he saw the Christmas light-covered trees before Thanksgiving could even get a chance.

Trees outside the house

Nevertheless, he put his personal pet peeves aside because this was a lecture that he was looking forward to for weeks. And this time, Daquon was not wrong. From Dr. Bradley’s introduction, Daquon knew that he was going to enjoy tonight. He noticed Dr. Bradley’s very warm personality and very relatable demeanor. Dr. Bradley began discussing some of her influences and purpose of the book. When Dr. Bradley said that the book was about southern black identity and how it is often overshadowed by a historicized version, Daquon moved to the edge of his seat because this was literally his life. As she began reading, her tone could even keep this sleep-deprived college student interested. In fact, Daquon took an interest in one of the first stories Dr. Bradley told, Intentions. Intentions told the story of the small town of Albany’s Dream Week, a week inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. that celebrates civil rights leaders, and focused on the experience of the young black protagonist. Immediately, Daquon began drawing parallels to the main character. Every year, though he loved studying black culture/history, doing a Black History project, retelling the same stories, and sharing the same perspectives got a little stale. Daquon is generally a procrastinator, but his procrastination levels always slightly rose around this time of year, just like how the protagonist procrastinated his Dream Week project.

Faith’s P.O.V

“Wya” the text peeked through the cracks on her cell phone screen. Faith had one foot out the door and was about to meet her classmates. “See ya later!” She yelled to her roommate before leaving. Knowing she was running late she sprinted down the stairs. As she burst through the door she was greeted by the rain. “No! It’s raining” she screeched aloud earning her strange looks from bystanders. Realizing once again that she was late, she ran around until she found Rachel. “Rachel! It’s raining!” Faith screamed. “Yeah, I know” Rachel responded. “I wanted to go grab my umbrella.” As they walked down the hill to another entrance of Complex they met Daquon. Rushing, they informed him that their Uber was on campus already and headed towards the car.

Margaret Mitchell House

After a pleasant Uber ride, they arrived at the Margaret Mitchell House. Upon arrival, Faith admired the twinkly lights adorning the trees in the front yard. “The lady who wrote Gone with the Wind lived here” Rachel informed Faith. “Oh, I hated the hour of the movie I watched. I started falling asleep,” Faith said as they walked inside. Once they entered, they were surrounded by Gone with the Wind books. They walked outside to another building next to the house. The building was filled with paintings and photographs. As they looked around, Faith observed the audience. It was mostly older adults and most of them were black. The three of them were definitely the youngest people in the room.

Rachel and Daquon with another piece of art

After waiting patiently, Dr. Bradley arrived. Dr. Bradley was lively with a loud, booming voice. Faith was taken back by her vivacious personality, but she loved it. If she had not read her book with personality, Faith would have quickly lost interest. Anticipating the formation of their blog post, Faith tried to be attentive and took notes. In particular, the story from the section titled “Long Division” stood out to her the most. Bradley, who portrayed herself as a boy, in the story, was forced by her grandpa to apply to the University of Georgia. When her grandpa was a senior in high school, the coach from the University of Georgia was interested in letting him play for the team. Against his father’s wishes, her grandfather went to the practice and was subjected to racism upon his arrival. While we did not get to hear the whole story, she did let us know that the university would not let her father attend their school or play football with them. Although she did not see getting into the school (she received her acceptance letter before her grandpa told the story) as a big deal, it was to her grandpa who could not get into the school when he was her age. Faith found that she could relate to Dr. Bradley about this. It reminded her of mother’s experiences in college when she first immigrated to the country. While her mother did not have an issue with getting into school, she had issues once school commenced. Often her professors would ridicule her mother and expressed their desire for her to be unsuccessful simply because she was black and because she was an immigrant. Now Faith’s mother is satisfied when Faith tells her that her professors are kind, supportive and wishing for her success. The excerpt from the book had Faith interested in the south that Dr. Bradley lived in. Although Faith has heard the stories of what it was like living under Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, Faith has not heard much about what comes next. The age where hip-hop and trap music arrive is not really represented, and Dr. Bradley made a point to say that most narratives about it were not made by black people or people that lived in the places they emerged in. Faith wanted to hear the full stories, but the book was expensive. Despite only hearing part of them, Faith felt that Dr. Bradley successfully displayed the southern black identity and wishes she was not broke so she could afford the book.

Rachel’s P.O.V

Rachel’s day was jam-packed. As she jogged from her history lecture that had ended at 5:30 to the Math and Science building to help out with an event for the short 25 minutes her schedule allowed, she began to ponder how the night’s lecture would go. Her two group members Faith and Daquon were supposed to meet up with her around 6:00 to head out to the famous author, Margaret Mitchell’s, house where the lecture, “Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South” was being held. Like most of the sound of the word “boondock”  Rachel’s mind immediately wandered to the animated sitcom, “The Boondocks”,  a show based off a cartoon about an African American grandfather and his two grandchildren’s cross-cultural experience as they move into a white suburban neighborhood. Smiling as she thought of her favorite character from the show, Riley, Rachel realized; however, that despite the numerous times spent watching the show all last summer she had no idea what the word “boondock” meant. Deciding she should do a little researching pre-lecture she pulled out her phone and found (with the help of google) that the word  “boondock” meant remote or isolated country. Further investigation showed that the term had actually been transformed to a slightly different meaning than originally instated, as “boondock” is also a noun to describe an unsophisticated area. Tucking her phone back into her oversized raincoat Rachel made her way over to the meetup place her group members had agreed upon. Dark gray clouds floated above with the promise of rain to come as she reflected on what her limited research indicated about the upcoming lecture. It seemed this event would be speaking to some form of the cultural experience African Americans from a certain socio-economic background faced. “Hip Hop South” was connotation for “African American” and “Boondocks” was connotation for the “certain socio-economic background”. Fast forward past a lit uber ride with the coolest driver ever and walk through downtown Atlanta, Rachel suddenly found herself spending her Wednesday night enamored with the strong and surprisingly youthful voice of Dr.Regina Bradley.

Sign in front of the Margaret Mitchell House

Having just come from Professor Lipstadt’s  lecture about “The Great Books of the Holocaust”  Rachel was surprised to find that Dr.Bradley’s style was similar. In both lectures the facilitators read excerpts aloud directly from their books; however where Professor Lipstadt let the content of her books speak for itself, Dr.Bradley utilized voice inflections, and occasional side remarks in conjunction with her content to engage her audience. Although at times her readings felt a bit too long, the unerring representation of black dialogue present throughout her shared book excerpts got Rachel through and became especially charming by the third section of the book, “Stitches in Time”, which examined the question “What does time look like in the south”? And how time looks differently for each person. Dr.Bradley’s simple opening remark about how this story had “haunted her” immediately had everyone on the edge of their seats anticipating her reading. Pressed for time we were quickly transported into the world of a young girl undergoing the teenage nuisance of attempting to convince her mama to go to a party her older brother and his friends were attending. The girl’s mother is unrelenting with her decision not to let her daughter go and instead instructs her son to be back no later than midnight. With a groan, the son and his friends leave and all goes well until the young girl receives a phone call from her brother’s friend saying no one knows where her brother is. After her mother comes in from searching for her son and hears that no one knows where he is she wails and -Dr.Bradley closes the book leaving the audience off with a cliffhanger. The interesting thing about Dr.Bradley’s lecture was unlike Professor Lipstadt she didn’t spend time explicitly stating how certain themes tied into her book, which Rachel found somewhat frustrating. After some reflection, Rachel realized that this was due to the differing purpose of each lecture. Dr.Bradley was showcasing excerpts from a book she had written herself and planned to sell thus leaving her theme and book readings open-ended was crucial in order to entrance the audience and elicit curiosity that would encourage them to buy her book. This differed from Professor Lipstadt’s as her readings were from various classical books that she had not written and were somewhat known so her lecture was a bit more explicit. From the short part of  “Stitch in Time” read and the themes Dr.Bradley mentioned Rachel inferred that perhaps this chapter was going to analyze the various effects the same amount of time has on different people, specifically people in the South. Maybe the son is found years later and life has drastically changed for not only him but also his sister and mother but in different ways. Perhaps the son is killed and as time passes the mother and daughter are affected in varying ways. All in all the possibilities were endless, which made Rachel curious about how the story would unfold.

Rachel and Daquon with Dr. Bradley

“You know, I’m starting to get why she didn’t explain how each theme was connected to the story, but what about Hip Hop? I didn’t really feel like it was explicitly present throughout the book.” Rachel pondered this aloud as she walked back with Faith and Daquon to the location of their uber driver.

“I don’t think she meant for it to be explicit, I think the dialogue of her characters and the way they act is supposed to represent the effects the culture of Hip Hop in the South had on children from the post-civil right movement era” Faith replied. Rachel nodded in understanding as immediately her mind went back to the show “The Boondocks”. Just as Dr.Bradley utilized dialogue to convey the riveting effect Hip Hop had on black youth, characters from “The Boondocks” were used to show the negative effect of the same phenomenon. Even Rachel’s favorite character, Riley, was a product of rap and hip-hop culture and represented the manifestation of what cultural stigmas and stereotypes can do to influence black youth in an unpleasant way.

 

Although we did not get to hear the endings to any of the stories, we strongly believe that Dr. Bradley accurately captured the essence of black southern life. Especially through the use of dialogue, we could hear an accurate portrayal of both youth and adults living in the post-civil rights era. From the tiny bits we heard, hip-hop culture was weaved into the stories. She did not explicitly say this is hip-hop culture, but she just let it exist in the space without trying to shove the fact into our brains. If readers pay close enough attention, they can hear it and see it through the way the characters speak and behave. Dr. Bradley’s book is the perfect alternative to a boring textbook description of what hip-hop culture looks and sounds like. Her use of common situations that we can all relate to, such as applying to college, procrastinating on our projects, and our parents not letting us go out, allows us to learn what we would in a textbook in its proper context. We can step inside of her world to better understand the life she is portraying, which makes it easier for us to learn. We highly encourage you all to consider buying the book if you can. If you want to take a blast in the past, but in a setting that is somewhat familiar to our own, please do yourself a favor and check out Boondock Kollage.

Back cover of Boondock Kollage

http://www.redclayscholar.com/about-dr.-bradley.html (Her Website)

https://www.amazon.com/Boondock-Kollage-Stories-Critical-Thinking/dp/1433133032

 

Memoirs From the Holocaust – You Can’t Make This Up

As I slowly walked towards the Oxford Road Building, my head was filled with memories of the few previous Williams Memorial lectures I attended, including one where a certain someone gave the entire audience a cold. Even though I was required to attend all the Williams lectures for my physics course, not even one of them has been remotely close to the subject. I arrived at the lecture room, I checked my calendar on Canvas and saw that the lecture topic was “Great Works of Palaeontology”. This caused me immediately to think of Jurassic Park and life from way back. I mentally prepared myself to listen to a speech about some dinosaur books for 45 minutes and took a seat.

The poster for the movie based on Dr. Lipstadt

As the doors closed, the lecturer, Dr. Lipstadt, was introduced as Emory’s most famous professor. I recognized the name, but couldn’t quite remember where I had heard it. Strangely enough, the introduction had nothing to do with dinosaurs, but instead talked about Dr. Lipstadt’s work as a Jewish historian, disproving Holocaust deniers in legal court. At this moment, I remembered where I had heard the name: I had seen countless trailers for a movie which is based on “Emory’s most famous professor” and her battle to fight Holocaust denial. I also realized that palaeontology is not limited to dinosaurs.

Dr. Lipstadt started her lecture in a similar fashion to all the other Williams lectures, claiming that it is difficult to choose a few books to talk about since there are so many “history-changing” books about the Holocaust. Therefore, she decided to present the books that spoke to her the most. These books were mostly memoirs or diaries. The first person perspective that they gave and the specifics that they went into were able to paint a picture in my head.

Between Dignity and Despair, a book that Dr. Lipstadt presented

I enjoyed the way Dr. Lipstadt presented the books she brought with. She would start by flipping open a book, which she would read until she found a good place to stop. After closing the book, she would then explain to the audience in very specific detail what was going on in the time frame she had just read about. Her explanations gave a lot of insight on the Jewish situation inside the ghettos during the war. For example, Dr. Lipstadt told a story of how in the ghetto, there were specific Jews who were responsible for being the intermediary between the Nazis and the ghetto residents. These people always saw the list of Jews who were taken out of the ghetto. In one particular ghetto, this intermediate person between the Nazis and ghetto residents would always convict himself that the people were being taken away to do labor. However, when he saw that children started to appear on the list, he couldn’t stand it anymore and took his own life. The stories like these that Dr. Lipstadt told really brought the books she presented to life.

Dr. Lipstadt reading to the audience

The crowd at the lecture was mostly students who were forced to be there, due to their class being in the Voluntary Core Curriculum like mine. There was also the usual group of older people there, who were attending just to hear Dr. Lipstadt’s words. Even though I found the lecture very engaging, about half of the students who I saw were on their mobile devices for the entire lecture. Also, at the end of the lecture during the question and answer period, I noticed that the audience had much fewer questions than what was normal for a Williams lecture. This was probably due to the fact that Jewish studies is a less popular subject area at Emory than what the previous lectures had been about (law, psychology, etc.). This might also explain the unengaged audience who were there just to get an attendance grade. I think that if she were to relate her stories she told back to her time in court fighting against Holocaust deniers, as well as the movie that was recently made, the lecture could have been more intriguing than it already was.

Emory’s teaching mission statements

Overall, I think that Dr. Lipstadt’s lecture was incredibly insightful. Having gone to a Jewish school, I was exposed to memoirs of the Holocaust and talks from survivors from a young age. The materials that Dr. Lipstadt presented went into the same amount of details that I hear every time I listen to a unique story. Every memoir, testimony, and diary has historical importance in providing the information to support Dr. Lipstadt’s work. After looking at Emory University’s mission statements, I can easily say that Dr. Lipstadt is well suited to be “Emory’s most famous professor”, with her work and teachings fitting all of the categories.

 

Lecture video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1krclh9677eavaz/EW%2011-1-17.mp4?dl=0

A True Kodak Moment

The flash beamed into the eyes of my peers as I wound up the camera for a quick second shot. “Everyone say cheese” as the flash once again made my friends freeze like a deer in headlights. “What the f*** is that Michael?”, but I had no time to explain as I raced around the room looking for another timeless shot. Time was running out as I tried to relive these moments forever.

Kodak Disposable Camera

With second semester of senior year finally eliminating the pressure of college applications and homework assignments, my friends, Max and Ben, and I were finally able to design our project. Throughout high school we always talked about “doing something cool” senior year, but we never figured out what to do. Sharing a passion for all types of art and the vintage aesthetic, we wanted to construct a project that we would remember forever. From creating a short film on a VHS camcorder, to constructing an exhibit of mood boards in our high school, we thought of almost everything, but nothing ever came into fruition. It was not until we were at a party one night that the idea came to us. The three of us walked around and noticed almost everyone posting stories on their Snapchat. With these stories only lasting 24 hours we began to question how one could turn these short moments into timeless memories. The answer was: Point and Shoot Film Cameras. As a famous photographer, Gunner Stahl, once said “there is nothing more natural than an unfiltered film photo” (I Don’t Even Rap, Fader.com). With the power of a simple disposable camera from CVS, we were able to create something much more meaningful than a 15 second low quality clip.

My friend working at the local bagel shop.

From there on out we always kept these small cameras by our side. Whether it was a shot in the cafeteria at school, or at a Friday night party, these special moments can come at unexpected times. Though at first, our classmates would give us weird looks and mock us for our “girly little arts and crafts project”, they were all amazed by the sentimental value each photo held. It was almost as if we were able to relive these experiences once the images were developed on paper.  When we saw this value in a photo that was taken a week before, we began to think about the nostalgic power they would hold 50 years from now. This realization inspired us to give the photos to the people we shot as we found ourselves picking up prints weekly at the local camera store. We would organize our collection of photos based on our peers and leave them in their mailboxes around town. The simple smiles and laughs that each photo created made the time and effort worth it as each photo shared a unique story.

Last day of school.

Everyone at some point in their lives has heard of the phrase “a Kodak moment”, but rarely people take it literally. Though the sheer emotional attachment of these memories grow as we get older, the vividness and accuracy of these moments slowly fade away. With the power of the printed film photos, the three of us were able to create something tangible out of a moment in time. Essentially a memory pasted on a piece of paper, never to be faded and forgotten. Though these prints may be left around in some cabinet drawers decades from now, I am confident they will reappear in everyone’s life at some point, not only sparking the essence of childhood, but also the relationships that were built.

Last time going to lunch all together.
Graduation (Max on the right)
After-prom party
Post party shenanigans
Jaden Smith at Palace NYC
My mother embraces my sister after her return from camp.
NYC (Ben)
NYC (Max)
2nd to last day of school.

TheFaderTeam. “Gunner Stahl – I Don’t Even Rap.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Sept. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VL3LyfL9iA.

-Michael Malenfant

Weaving Through Time

What do you think is most unique about the structure of the buildings on Emory’s campus? What made a lasting impression on you in terms of their composition? Our campus is renowned for its beautiful architecture, with ubiquitous Georgia marble as far as the eye can see. While some buildings on campus are not as picturesque as others, there are definitely those that provide our school distinction, while intertwining its unique aesthetic value.

On Thursday, November 2nd, we attended a lecture in The Carlos Museum titled “The Fabric of Divine Power: textiles and bundles in ancient Mesoamerica.” The speaker, Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet, is the current Curator of Art of the Ancient Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Senior Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution.

Carlos Museum, third floor

As we ventured into a room filled with primarily grey-haired individuals, we were a bit skeptical as to whether this lecture was appropriate for our age. However, as we glanced around the dimly-lit room, we began to reminisce upon the certain value this environment held; We noticed beautifully hung chandeliers, filled with eight shimmering lights gleaming from each one. Ancient architectural sculptures of faces, animals, and masks, stemming back to 1000 B.C.E, lined the walls in efforts to allow the audience to harken back to a prior historical era. As the lecture continued, the lighting began to shift in context to what Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet was discussing: while projecting elaborate weaving tools of gold, jade, and other precious materials, she dimmed the lights in order to envelop her audience in these ancient works of art. Thus, revealing that skilled weaving was a high-status occupation for the elite.

Weaving our way through the lecture, we detected the many cultural and artistic differences between the Pre-Columbian societies and how it transformed the Americas into a  breeding ground of beauty and fashion. The three famous societies, Aztecs, Mayans and Incans, congruently shared an individual style that reflected their environment, morals and overall way of life. Though these civilizations inhabited the western hemisphere and were able to communicate to each other, no fashions within any two civilizations shared any true similarities, when it came down to it. In fact, fashions within each society varied vastly depending upon their locations. Due to limited resources, these civilizations were forced to have some similarities when it came to dyes used on the fabric or fabric composition, but each product was unique nonetheless. Before the conquistadors, the ancient Mesoamerican world was full of cultural fashion and textile differences and similarities that range from the type of cloth used to the way patterns were stitched.

Often times we take things for face value, not realizing the subconscious affects certain objects have on us. Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet stressed this idea throughout her presentation, highlighting the importance of textiles in Mesoamerican society. For the purposes of her research she looked at prestige goods in Southern Mexico and the Yucatán region. She noted that textiles were at the heart of the socioeconomic system, and were used as taxes among certain groups. Due to the given nature of textiles, most of them do not survive, thus archaeologist and researchers must look at other forms of art (i.e. pottery, paintings or architecture) in order to grasp a better understanding of the role of textiles.

Nunnery in Uxmal, Mexico

Although the many ancient textiles have not survived the tropical climate of Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian depictions and paintings of figures wearing the woven cloth have indicated that textiles were decorative, highly valued, and utilized to convey an elite status. In the case of architecture in particular, the socioeconomic value of a building can be discerned from the intricacies of the building’s architecture. For example, the elite residential compound “The Nunnery” is known for its intricate mosaics along its facade. If you view the mosaics along the facade as the equivalent of textiles, then it can be extrapolated that they served to reinforce the importance of textiles in the Mesoamerican economy.

Nunnery in Uxmal, Mexico

However, Mesoamericans continue to produce highly skilled, traditional textiles throughout contemporary times, both to preserve and continue their cultural heritage, while earning an income through the tourist trade. Nevertheless, textile-making was not and is not a static art form; Throughout their history, Mesoamerican weavers have adopted and adapted new materials, techniques, and designs as they have become available through interaction and trade, and they have developed new forms to appeal to potential customers.

As we contently listened to the lecture, we began to draw a parallel between the symbolic representation of the ancient textiles through Mesoamerica and the unique architecture here at Emory. Just as Dr. Reents-Budet reflected how the more intricate textiles made them more memorable, we were able to note that Emory’s unique features of its architecture serve to leave a lasting impression on those exposed to them.

Atwood Chemistry Building

Rather than sticking to the commonly classic, basic red-brick college campus design, Emory’s provision of white Georgia marble and glass structure, complemented by accents of dark copper, makes it seemingly impossible to forget its stunning campus.

The vibrant visual impact of buildings such as Carlos Hall, Atwood Chemistry Building, the Theology Building, and even our very own Woodruff Library reflect Emory’s prestige as a high-ranking university. Next time you are walking to class, pay close attention to the detail and intricacy of the architecture surrounding you. These elements are a core factor in what makes Emory such a unique and memorable school for all who visit.

By: Zion, Kate, and Jenna

 

Wrapping Up Our Blog and Rapping Up Candler

At Emory, it seems like most students are on the typical pre-business or pre-med routes, limiting their appreciation of other esteemed graduate schools. (If you would like to learn more about the Goizueta Business School experience, please check out our previous blog post). When we signed up for our final post, we chose Candler simply because it was the last remaining graduate school yet to be covered. However, upon further research, we realized that this often overlooked school is actually a notable institution of its kind.

Candler is a rather small school that goes unnoticed alongside the Psychology and Chemistry buildings. Though it does not look like much from the outside, Candler is actually a place full of history, resources, and opportunities.

To our surprise, Candler was Emory’s first graduate school program. Its esteemed alumni include James Armstrong, America’s youngest Methodist bishop, and Martin Luther King Junior’s daughter, Bernice King, who received her ministry from Candler. Reading this alone made us rethink our initial assumptions of the school. Our appreciation continued to grow as we learned of Candler’s impressive progressiveness. In 1935, Emory’s School of Theology expanded its admits to include non-Methodist students, and in 1997, Emory opened its chapels to same-sex commitment ceremonies. Intrigued, we continued to delve into how Candler provides for its students today.  

Candler grants its students an exceptional education. It is not uncommon for its inspiring classes and award-winning teachers to receive standing ovations from engaged students. Furthermore, because of its home at Emory, Candler students have the freedom to explore other departments, even majoring in Bioethics, Business, Development Practice, Law, Public Health, Social Work, along with theology. With easy access to Pitts Library, home of over 620,000 volumes and approachable librarians, students can conveniently obtain support in their studies. Clearly, Candler accommodates for its students’ love and passion for learning. This initiative pays off, with 70% of alumni serving as church pastors.

In addition to its academic resources, Candler provides outlets for students who want to engage in opportunities outside of the classroom. There are 15 official student organizations, including the Office of Student Programming, a team of united staff and students who plan Candler events. Additionally, all members of the Candler community are welcome to services, held weekly at the Cannon Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is more than an educational community, it is a spiritual one.

Despite our initial lack of knowledge about Candler, over the course of our research and firsthand exploration, we quickly learned that the school is one to be reckoned with. To bring this deserving energy to Candler, we decided to rap up our blog posts in the only way we deemed appropriate – to parody your favorite song and mine, “In My White Tee” by Dem Franchize Boyz. Prepare yourselves.

[Hook]

I go to Emory, here at Theology

Trying to earn one of the 16 degrees

Pray with community, home of Pitts Library

A seven to one student to faculty  

First grad school at Emory, OG in Tennessee

Moved to ATL ‘cause Cola Company

Now OG’s named Vandy, but Candler sticks with me

In ‘35, non-Methodists included in theology

[Verse 1]

Step on the scene opportunities are obscene

Student programming ‘bout to convene

We all have integrity, we all work

Amount of diversity is berserk

ATL is right by me, no place I’d rather be

Special interest programs – there is one for you and me

Scholarships lower the fee, 88% near free

Rhyming is so hard, hope we are staying on the key

Cannon Chapel nearby hosts events so lively

I go here for Mass and worship so mightily

Jan Love is queen bee, she’s Dean with high authority

Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist choice of study

Take any class at the university  

To apply you need transcript but no GRE

Academic ability, textual literacy

Required for admission at Candler Theology

[Hook]

I go to Emory, here at Theology

Trying to earn one of the 16 degrees

Pray with community, home of Pitts Library

A seven to one student to faculty

[Verse 2]

Well I hit class on a learning spree, fifty-two to teach me

Esteemed professors ‘cause they shine so brightly

Classroom learning, critical reflection, hands-on ministry

The most influential religious leader in the country  

James Armstrong went to Candler, now acclaimed critically

MLK’s daughter also in student body

Offers many programs for international study

Class so good, don’t be absentee

Not uncommon to get standing O’s – they’re a hit

Unlike Sandro’s mad fits

Everyone at Candler, ‘cause they simply love it

Has some grad school festivities

Thanksgiving dinner and awesome end of year party

Candler chronicle highlights this glee

Candler prepares real people like you and me

To make a real difference, you see

In the real world, motto of theology

[Hook]

We go to Emory, here at Theology

Trying to earn one of the 16 degrees

Pray with community, home of Pitts Library

A seven to one student to faculty

[Outro]

In our white tees, we out!

“Emory University | Atlanta, GA.” Candler School of Theology, 3 Nov. 2017, candler.emory.edu/index.html.

Dem Franchize Boyz. In My White Tee, 2003.

Emory NAACP’s Trip to the Center for Civil and Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

The Emory NAACP organized a trip to the Center for Civil and Human Rights on November 4th. From an all too realistic interactive exhibit of the Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-Ins to alarmingly graphic photos at the Lorraine motel of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum is nothing short of an intense experience. Upon arrival, there is a beautiful mural that depicts messages throughout the history of human rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The museum is divided into multiple exhibits. The first floor is home to the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The second floor is always an exhibit to the American Civil Rights Movement and also, the gift shop. The third floor is an ode to the Global Human Rights Movement. “The exact focus of these exhibits generally change every 4 to 6 months.” stated our opening tour guide.

 

THE MOREHOUSE COLLEGE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COLLECTION

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery features a rotating exhibition of items from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, where visitors can view the personal papers and items of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The theme currently is “Honoring a Legacy: Women of the Civil Rights Movement.” The role of women is often overlooked when speaking of the legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement. This rotation of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection shines a light on some of these outstanding individuals. The exhibits highlights nine women who either inspired, worked alongside or influenced Dr. King in the fight for justice and equality.

 

This exhibit is a “no photography zone,” because of the original documents of MLK, Jr. but I still have a couple covertly snapped pictures of some of the women included.

 

New Orleans native, Mahalia Jackson, had a large supportive and spiritual impact on MLK, Jr.
Dora McDonald was secretary to Dr. Benjamin Mays who the Mellon Mays Fellowship Program is named for.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT GALLERY

 

This one is the most intense, popular, and thorough exhibit in the museum. The Civil Rights Movement gallery presents the brave fight for equality in The American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. There are multiple interactive displays depicting the courageous struggles of individuals working to transform the United States from Jim Crow laws to equal rights for all. The most intense and visceral part of the museum is the interactive Woolworth’s Lunch Counter. Visitors put on noise cancelling headphones and sit in a red chair as a timer starts, “Let’s see how long you last” starts the recording. This daunting statement is followed by voices of racist, whites taunting and cursing at you while the chair is kicked and shaken from all angles. Time after time, people left the exhibit in tears. The museum’s exhibits, particularly this one, tell stories in ways that promote empathy and understanding.

 

Interactive testimony recounting Freedom Ride participants’ experiences.
Interactive Woolworth Lunch Counter

 

THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT GALLERY

The Human Rights Movement gallery enables visitors to make connections to the world of human rights. The gallery features interactive technology intended for all audiences to help visitors gain a deeper understanding of human rights and how they affect the lives of every person. With interactive stories of people who have been stripped of their human rights, this exhibit is extremely interactive and attracts international visitors year round.

 

Quite naturally, there was a large focus on states in the South. Whenever there was a button to press for “Louisiana” or “New Orleans,” y’all know I pressed it. Although I was proud to see New Orleans native Mahalia Jackson be featured largely in the women’s exhibit, every other time my home was mentioned I was jarred. I say jarred in a way that is not synonymous with shocked or surprised though, for I am no longer shocked by many things when it comes to the ongoing fight for civil rights in America. I say jarred in a way that evinces my unpleasant or disturbed reaction to Louisiana’s heavy involvement in pushing back against civil rights progress. The headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan was in Shreveport, Louisiana. People were beaten on Freedom Rides to New Orleans. While New Orleans, a cultural and social enclave, is pushing daily to right our wrongs, the state of Louisiana as a whole is decades behind. I hope that as more museums like this promote empathy in the hearts of people nationwide, maybe we will be closer to a more humane society. 

 

Cut Loose

In honor of donating ten inches of my locks on November 13th, I decided to look into the history of hair. People from different backgrounds have hair types ranging from curly, straight, wavy, long, short, choppy, black, blonde, brunette and everything in between. Hair has been around longer than any of us can even imagine and has been shaped in many ways. It has been said mammals appeared on this earth just two-hundred twenty million years ago. Primates had hair on their bodies forty million years ago to stay warm. When humans appeared on this earth eight million years ago, the hair began shedding off of our bodies, yet stayed on our heads. An evolutionary biologist Darren Curnoe believes that our ancestor’s body hair has gotten shorter as they evolved (yes, evolution is real) from walking on all fours to standing. In doing this, it allowed them to keep cool while walking and running long distances in pursuit of food. 

Janet Nguyen. Hair description: black, usually straight and shiny.
Ashley Machan. Hair description: dyed blonde, wavy and medium length.
Issi Young. Hair description: very curly, blonde with dark roots and long.
Camille O’Connell. Hair description: dark brown, frizzy and very curly.

Today, hair plays a huge role in regulating our body temperature by raising itself our bodies to trap heat in. Our nostril hairs and nose hairs keep dirt and dust out of our bodies. On the contrary, the hair on our heads do not serve much of a purpose other than the sole purpose for individuals to style it. Hairstyles have the ability to make a person unique. From dreadlocks to perms to braids, we have the ability to style and shape our hair the way that we want. Hair can make us feel beautiful and empowered by giving us the confidence that we crave. They can serve as a statement and can only add character in our lives. 

You may not realize it but you may be taking your hair for granted. Hair growth of loss is entirely out of our control. There are plenty of people out there who are balding or have receding hairlines. Some people even lose their hair due to aging or in response to a treatment. Regardless to how it has been lost, there’s the realization that some people are in desperate need of hair. It’s important that their confidence or self appreciation is not diminished because of some strands on top of their head. There may be many “solutions” such as Rogaine or having hair sewed into your scalp but they’re time consuming and regrowth is not guaranteed. On top of this, it’s expensive and some people would rather go bald than pay for these luxurious treatments. When you donate your hair, you wouldn’t be making a profit off of it and neither would the company. There are organizations out there who make wigs for free or charge for those in need of them.

This Monday would be the fourth time that I’ve donated my hair. I’m fortunate to have hair that grows at a rapid speed. In just six months since my last hair cut, another eight inches has sprouted from my head. To estimate, I would have to say that my hair grows over a foot each year. Due to the fact that my hair grows so fast, and I cut it in drastic lengths so often, I find donating to be an important part of my life. Once again, there are people who would appreciate any hair on their heads rather than being bald. Hair is commonly associated with beauty and everyone should feel beautiful inside and out. The past few times that I’ve donated my hair, I’ve been filled with an indescribable wholesomeness. Here is a timeline of my hair growth:

March 23, 2017.
April, 2017.

 

July 2017.
May 2017.
October 2017.

There you have it! A panel of different hair types and what their hair looks like to them. Through this experience, I found it overwhelming that there are many people out there willing to donate their locks one day. Some even agreed that they may be taking their locks for advantage and want to do something about it. All in all, you can see that whether having lots of hair or not, everyone has their own methods to feeling like their true selves. Although the hair on our bodies may not benefit a human, it can make you have the confidence that you deserve. I truly hope that you’ve become inspired to donate your hair this upcoming Monday, on November 13th in Raoul’s Lobby. If it’s too short, then maybe think about growing it out in the future. Donating your hair is not a spur of the moment decision, it takes time to grow out. When you decide to chop it off, it’s the satisfaction you feel that’s been built up for months. When summer comes around, I hope to donate my locks again.

By Janet Nguyen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution

https://www.sciencealert.com/watch-why-do-we-have-body-hair

 

 

 

 

 

Dracula Relates to Grad Life, I Swear

And before you say it, I’m not calling graduate students at Emory blood-sucking vampires (though it’s a little debatable sometimes). I just decide to take a unique spin on our Grad Life beat. Often times, we focus on graduate program themselves or graduate student organizations. I feel that we lost the meaning of the beat being the Grad Life, and believe it or not, grad students have lives outside of the academic programs and extracurriculars. (I think).

Working at the Arts at Emory Box Office, I noticed that we get a lot of graduate students coming to see shows. At first, I was a little confused and would think “Don’t they have a dissertation or thesis to defend?” But then I realized that there’s a multitude of reasons that graduate students attend Emory arts events: friends in the show, musicians or composers they’re really fond of, or even just looking for a way to unwind on a Friday night.

Regardless of the reasons, Arts at Emory gives a lot of incentives for graduate students to attend concerts and productions. The first thing is grad students receive the Emory student rate for tickets. Of course, they are Emory students, but grad students pay the same price for tickets undergrads. Sometimes this is surprising to grad students because they aren’t sure if they qualify for the student discount. For example, a ticket for Dracula cost $22 for a full price ticket. With the Emory student discount, a ticket for Dracula is only $6, saving Emory students $16. Since we’re freshman we received an Arts passport at the beginning of the year, so we don’t really think about the prices of tickets. But did you know that any Emory student, include grad students, can buy a passport for $12? You might ask why anyone would buy a passport, but if we go back to the Dracula example, by using a passport students can get a ticket for “free.” Another incentive that grad students get that undergrads don’t is that grad students can buy two tickets at the Emory Student price and can use a passport for two tickets to each show/show run. Undergraduates only get one ticket at the Emory Student price and can only use a passport for one ticket to each show/show run. This means by using a passport to get two tickets for Dracula grad students already get their money back, and they still have all school year to get more tickets with the passport.

As I mentioned before, grad students do have lives outside of their programs. They like to see shows with friends and enjoy hearing concerts. And a lot of times they are some of the nicest customers and it’s easier to deal with grad students that somewhat know what their doing in terms of buying tickets than the confused freshman that love to come in the day of a show right before it starts with a passport to a sold-out or almost sold-out show so they can get a PACE requirement done.

The Arts at Emory Box Office is open Monday-Friday from noon-6:00pm. We also open up the box office an hour before any ticketed event (location depends on event). For more information, you can visit the Box Office at 1700 N Decatur Rd #251, Atlanta, GA 30322 or call (404) 727-5050. Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.

A Freshman’s Guide to Course Registration

Although there’s still months before the spring semester starts, freshmen must figure out what courses they plan on taking. It can be very overwhelming, especially since we are in the midst of yet another midterm-filled period of the semester. As a student who’s never missed a PACE class, I’m here to help you compartmentalize and learn exactly what to do in order to get what you want during registration.

The first thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is schedule an appointment with your pre-major advisor. Despite what you may think, they are a useful tool and know a lot about the registration process. Not only that, but you cannot register for courses until your advisor removes the “lock” that was put on your OPUS account.

Emory’s GER subject areas

After you schedule your meeting, you should start to look for the classes you want to take. If you already know what you wish to major in, look at the requirements and see if you can take any of them. If you do not know what you plan to study, you can use Emory’s general education requirements (GERs) as a guide to what you maybe should be taking. Also, your advisor may recommend some courses based on your interests and academic strengths. If you still find that you are struggling to pick what courses you may want, sit down with a friend who has similar interests and see what courses they’re taking. If you both sign up for a course that you don’t like, at least you’ll be together.

So now you may be wondering where you can find all the classes that Emory offers. The Course Atlas (link: http://atlas.college.emory.edu) is probably the most useful tool for checking out courses. On the website, you can filter classes by subject/department, the GER that they fulfill, or look at classes that are deemed appropriate for freshmen by the faculty. When you click on a class, you will be given information about it including its time, instructor, location, number of credit hours, the GER it fulfills, and a short description of the content in the class. Even though the Course Atlas is packed with classes, it still does not contain everything that Emory has to offer. The Course Atlas only has courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, so if you decide to take a class in the Business School per se, you must find its information from the Business School website. This is why it’s necessary to check your major requirements if you know what you wish to major in.

A weekly planner to use

After you have a list of the classes you think you might want to take, add them all to your shopping cart in OPUS. Even if you aren’t entirely sure you want a course, you should still add it just to be safe. There is no limit to how many courses you can add to your shopping cart, so go crazy. Once you think you’ve finished that, you should start to fill in some hypothetical schedules. It may be tedious, but it will save you from having 5 classes in one day and make sure you don’t have any time-conflicting classes. OPUS won’t let you register for courses that are time-conflicting, so you should have everything sorted out before registration time comes.

Intro Psych 1 has 1 seat left this semester

So now that you’ve decided what courses you’re going to take, you need to actually sign up for them. During your first registration period, you can sign up for up to 8 credit hours, and during your second you can add until your total is up to 19 credit hours (22 if you keep a cumulative 3.0 GPA). Keep in mind you need to take 12 credit hours to be a full-time student. Before your registration period begins, you need to make the potentially schedule-changing decision of which courses you should sign up for first. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to check how full the classes you want to take are in this semester. If you go to OPUS and search for classes but leave the semester as Fall 2017, you can view all the sections of the class you want to take next semester. You’ll be able to see the total class capacity and how many empty seats are left. From this information, you can tell which classes tend to be more difficult to get in to, and decide which you wish to register for first. Keep in mind that upperclassmen have already registered for courses, so if you plan to take any classes that aren’t restricted to freshmen, you should check how full they are by using the same method.

Once you’ve done all of this, the only thing left to do is actually register for the courses. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to login 2 minutes before your registration period begins, check off the courses you wish to take from your shopping cart and spam the “enrol” button at the bottom of the page until you either get in to your classes or are told they are full and get put on the waitlist.

My registration periods

I think that course registration is kind of a mess. It makes sense that upperclassmen get to register before the freshmen do, but the first appointment times for all freshmen are different. My appointment time is at 7:30pm, while I’ve heard some people got times as early as 6pm. It doesn’t really seem fair, and I think there should be a better way to do it. Also, I find that the OPUS interface is a bit difficult to navigate, and clicking one bad thing could effectively ruin your chances of getting in to your dream class. When advisor say that not getting the classes you want is a good opportunity to explore new subject areas, it’s just an excuse for the shortcomings of the registration period. Although Emory’s course registration may be flawed, by following these steps you can give yourself as much control as possible over your classes.