The Sounds Heard by a Deaf Woman

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Caption: Closed captions are correct for those with hearing disabilities.

Walden Pond Concord, Massachusetts

(Perspective of Michael) I leaped off the bus and instantly could smell the fresh pines and soft needles. With each step I gently crushed the leaves and fallen branches below me. The sound of the soil cracking under my shoes urged me to venture out into the trees, but I made sure to remain close. I was only eight years old at the time, but Walden Pond was much more than just a landmark.  Just two towns over from my home, it was an escape from reality. The sounds, smells, and sights of nature engulfed my thoughts. I never wanted to leave. Whether it was a deer sipping water with her fawn, or the sounds of the turkeys trotting through the bushes, Walden pond brought wonders beyond imagination for a young boy like me.

Walden. By, Henry David Thoreau

Six years later, Michael, Kate, Zion, and Josh found themselves listening to Rachel Kolb, an Emory graduate student, analyzing Thoreau’s work. Kolb, who is partially deaf, explained Thoreau’s opinions on the two different “spheres” of sound that he experienced while living in the wild – natural sound and industrial sound. Thoreau described natural sounds as the things that we hear from the animals and natural parts of life. This connects to all of the sounds that Michael heard at Walden Pond when he was younger. However, industrial sounds come from the new technologies of the time, such as “the noises of the train cars passing by.” Kolb concluded this idea by stating that Thoreau related the noise that he heard to interruptions, which seem to be inevitable aspects of modern day life.

Rachel Kolb introducing her paper.

The focus of Kolb’s analysis was on sound, specifically the new technologies of the mid-19th century, which affected people’s ability to enjoy the natural things in life. Kolb described these technologies which, “distract our attention from serious things” as “inventions that collapse the time and distance between two places.” Some of these technologies include railway systems and the telegraph. Kolb argued that these technologies changed the way people perceived space and time, as it was possible to communicate and therefore “listen” to each other while not being in the same location. This phenomenon leads to face-to-face interactions between people having less value. The new technologies of the mid-19th century can be compared to our very own age of social media. The access to information and communication we have from our electronic devices is taking away from our need to talk with each other in person. Both the railways of Thoreau’s period and our modern day digital platforms interrupt our thought and change the way that we interact with each other.

Rachel identifying the main themes of her paper.

While Rachel was presenting her paper, Michael and Kate noticed the sign language translators that sat on both sides of the table. They connected this to the lecture by Jennifer Sarrett titled “Autism in the Classroom”, which stressed the importance of accommodations for students with learning disabilities. They noticed that Rachel utilized many of the teaching techniques that Sarrett described in her presentation–techniques that help students with learning disabilities better absorb information and that help generalize the presentation to everyone. For instance, Rachel’s whole powerpoint was a black screen with white font. This is a common visual

“Autism in the Classroom”

aid. She also passed out packets of her transcript to the class for those who wanted to read along. It was interesting to witness how a writer with a disability interprets effective teaching. By presenting multiple versions of her presentation, Rachel was really demonstrating the effectiveness of the multimodal communication that she was talking about. Getting to see this perspective really opened our eyes to see how the world spreads ideas in different ways. By utilizing the mode of sound in her presentation despite her deafness being a hindrance, Rachel was emphasizing the strength of sound in formulating thoughts and avoiding distraction.

Whether it was the sound of leaves crunching below Thoreau’s feet or the sight of Rachel’s translators, it is clear that sound plays a variety of roles in our world. Though we never fully realize it, we are constantly adapting to newer ways of communicating through sounds and expressions. Listening to Rachel describe the use of sound in Thoreau’s work was like witnessing the combination of different products. Much like how Walden was forced to adapt to the growing technological influence of his world, Rachel was forced to adapt to her disability and find new ways to analyze everyday senses.

-Josh, Kate, Michael, Zion


Break The Silence: Domestic Violence

TW: Domestic Abuse








In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Phenomenal Women of the Omicron Xi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosted an event called “Break the Silence!” This past Sunday, October 15, in the Center for Women located in Cox Hall, my roommate and I participated in an open forum revolving around interpartner violence and its effect on and relevance to women of color.

This discussion was a very open and honest one. Jamechya Duncan from Emory’s Respect program, Emory’s central hub for interpersonal violence prevention and survivor resiliency, was the main facilitator. She shared her personal experience with domestic abuse and the struggle that she experienced when she tried to escape the situation. She emphasized the mental and emotional trauma that remains with victims when they are finally able to escape a violent situation. She advocated for the presence of supportive friends through every stage, and shared very personal aspects of her experience with domestic abuse. There was an opportunity to ask questions towards the end and the event ended up lasting an hour longer than anticipated due to the conversational aspect that the forum took on.

If you find yourself in a situation involving domestic/intimate partner violence, there are many outlets for support and assistance on Emory’s campus, in the Atlanta community, and nationally.

MARTA – Make Atlanta’s Rapid Transit Advantageous!

After a short plane ride back from Chicago, I was left in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with one of two options: I could either take an Uber and get back to campus quickly, or I could try to find a cheaper alternative. Using what I learned in my Economics class, I came to the smart decision of taking MARTA. Even though I knew it would take an extra hour to get back to Emory, I decided to go ahead with it. Not only was the trip easy, but it was also borderline enjoyable.

The MARTA station in the airport

I started off by asking the help desk in the airport where to go since it is so massive. Sure enough, they told me to follow the big signs that said “MARTA Station”. After making my way through the terminal, I found some machines where I could buy a ticket. I looked though my wallet only to realize that I had left my day pass, which were so generously given to us, in my room back on campus. However, this didn’t really bother me at all since I knew how much money I was saving. I scanned my ticket, went up the escalator and hopped on a train that was waiting in the station already.

A lovely view of the airport parking lot

Airport station is a terminal stop on MARTA’s red and gold lines, which run north-south. This meant that the only people I saw on the train were airport workers and a lady with some luggage, who seemed to be in my situation. After a solid three minutes of standing still, the train doors closed and we moved out of the station. To my surprise, most of my train ride was above ground. I managed to get a unique view of certain parts of the city from the train, and when I got off I could feel my neck hurting from staring out the window.

The bus to get back to Emory

After 13 stops, my train finally got to my station, Lindbergh Center. I took all my belongings with me upstairs to go catch the bus that would take me to campus. To my luck, there happened to be a #6 Emory/Oxford Rd waiting in the station. I sat down in the back of the bus and we departed for campus. I engaged in conversation with a young man sitting next to me. He told me, “You can get anywhere here for $2.50. I even got on for free because I convinced the driver I have no money, but…” he concluded, pointing to his pocket. Eventually, I started to recognize the area that I was in, so I requested a stop and got off the bus next to the WoodRec. I headed back to my dorm room, very pleased with myself having saved so much money.

Taking such a long ride on MARTA made me compare and contrast it with the transit system in my hometown, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). I was interested in public transit at a young age, so I like taking busses and trains whenever I go someplace new. The first thing I noticed about MARTA was that its vehicles were very clean. There is a no eating or drinking policy on all MARTA vehicles, which makes it less at risk to spills, which probably wouldn’t be cleaned up for a while. Another good addition to MARTA is the “Intercom tour guide”. At every train station, there is an automated announcement that tells passengers the main attractions nearby the station. This is super helpful in figuring out where you are, especially for someone like me who doesn’t know the city at all.

While my experience on MARTA was far from dreadful, I do think that there are some improvements to be made. First of all, I do not think that having overlapping lines is efficient for moving people. It makes stations get more crowded because people have to wait for specific trains, and it leaves only one station (Five Points) for people to transfer between the north-south lines and the east-west lines. In fact, all but one of the green line’s stops are shared with the blue line. I feel like the TTC has done a much better job of figuring out how to effectively get people from point A to point B. One more problem that I have with MARTA is that the bus and train are separated from each other. While the bus stops at train stations, you need to exit the actual station in order to board a bus. The TTC has busses pull into an area which is exclusive for people who have either come off a train/streetcar or paid to enter the station, so no transferring is necessary. This is more efficient for boarding vehicles during rush hour, when there are large crowds. While these are more big-picture problems, there are also some little things that annoyed me, like how the bus doesn’t announce stops like the train does, or how it closes at 12:30 am on weekends.

Map of MARTA trains
TTC’s map of trains

The bottom line is that MARTA is cheap and useful if you have a lot of time on your hands like I did. I personally think that it could use a bit of revamping, since the last time it was really useful was the 1996 Summer Olympics. Even though I may have made out the TTC to be so much better, I am pretty biased. After all, an article on rates Toronto as the fifth worst public transit system in the world, with Atlanta only being fourth on the list. As a college student, I would really like to see MARTA improve so I’d stop having to pay so much for Uber.


Jalopnik article:

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

I’m a Texas girl born and raised. If you didn’t already know, us Texans have an endless amount of state pride. It’s hard not to when you grow up reciting the Texas pledge every morning and have multiple pairs of cowboy boots in your closet.

Every Texas stereotype really does ring true in one way or another. No, I don’t ride a horse to school, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t seen other people riding horses in busy streets. Most people do own at least one pickup, and I am guaranteed to see multiple cowboy hats every time I go out in public.

My sister and me at the fair (with the Texas Star in the background!)

One place that radiates state pride significantly more than others is our prized possession: The State Fair of Texas. Open for only one month out of every year, the State Fair is the Disneyland of Texas. I grew up going to the fair at least once a year, and there is honestly nothing better than fair season. Schools give children a free ticket and a “Fair Day”, a day off of school with no other intention but for students to go to the fair. You will never witness a larger amount of food, carnival games (which are definitely rigged, by the way), or rides in your entire life. It’s truly incredible.

Texas likes to take the most random foods of all time, stick them in the deep frier, and serve them. All of this happens at the fair. Fried cookie dough, fried lemonade, fried butter, and fried chicken noodle soup are only a few of the deep fried foods served.

Just about any type of food on earth can be found at the fair, but by far the most popular are Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. I’m not personally a fan of corn dogs, but Fletcher’s is a whole new story. I crave them for the whole year leading up to the fair’s opening.

Fried cookie dough with chocolate and powdered sugar on top.
Fletcher’s Corny Dogs are definitely the fair’s most popular food items.

Part of the fair experience is trying your hand at one of the games, though each one is purposely impossible. If your goal is to win a prize, it’s best to stick to the booths with the “each child wins a prize” sign on the front.  Rides are also a necessity, whether it be the massive ferris wheel (The Texas Star), the swings, or one of the roller coasters. There’s something for everyone.

The fair is a place I will forever hold close to my heart. I’ve never missed a year of going to the fair, and some of my favorite childhood memories took place there. Ever since my childhood nanny’s daughter, Riley, was born in 2010, it’s been a tradition for us to go together each year. Especially now that I’m in college, this time spent together is extremely important to me, and I hope I continue to keep this tradition up as we get older.

Riley, Rachel, and me jumping for joy on our traditional trip to the fair.

Instead of simply describing my experience at the fair this year, I thought I’d show you instead.

Music: “Another Day in Paradise” by Quinn XCII

Returning to an Onslaught of College Small Talk

I have never been particularly good at engaging in small talk. I much prefer sharing deeper conversations with those who really know me, my close circle of friends and immediate family. During monumental stages in my life, this dreaded small talk was especially, painfully prevalent. Family-friends and community members always managed to bring up my least favorite topics of discussion. In eighth grade, everyone wanted to hear about high school. What were my options? What were the considerations? I was always somewhat frustrated by these questions, as I was not particularly enthusiastic about my choice of schools, and rather wanted to avoid the subject matter entirely. “Ask me about eighth grade!” I always thought, “That’s the grade I’m in now.” The college process brought even more questioning. Where was I applying? What were my top choices? These questions felt higher-stakes and sparked unwelcome stress. The application and decision-making process were anxiety-producing enough, but now I was forced to discuss them with countless members of my community.

As Fall Break approached, I eagerly anticipated my return home and reunion with many of the special people in my life – family friends, neighbors, and even past high school teachers.

Excitedly reuniting with my grandparents.

But carried away by my excitement, I failed to consider and brace myself for the onslaught of personal questions that I would be forced to answer yet again. At every shared meal or community gathering, I was asked the same questions. “How’s school? How’s your roommate? Your friends? Your classes? What is your major? What classes are you taking? Are the bathrooms communal?”. The list goes on. I responded by delivering generic answers with as much enthusiasm as I could muster up. “It’s good! My roommate and I are getting along well. I am undecided right now, but I’m taking psychology, sociology, freshman writing, and Hebrew.” People asked me these same questions so many times that I developed automatic responses to deliver on cue. The pestering continued. “Isn’t it great?” they would persist. “I miss college! It’s the best, I just wish I could go back.” “Yes!” I responded, but I sensed the insincerity in my own answers. Sure, college was going well, but it had only been two months. I was still adjusting to a completely different lifestyle. I was transitioning away from my home, family, and friends, and into a new city, with new people and friends. While I was impressed with the way I was navigating the adjustment, I knew it would take time to feel fully at home and settled at Emory. No matter their intention, these questions gave me a sense of inadequateness. I felt like they posed unrealistic expectations for this stage of the adjustment period, and this sparked doubt about how well I was truly handling myself.

Talking to family friends about my experience at Emory.

My initial inclination was to be somewhat resentful of the people who asked me these questions, putting me on the spot and leading me to doubt my confidence when I was just excited to be home. I tried to remind myself that these frustrating questions come from a place of care. Part of adult life is engaging in these polite interactions, even smiling through them. And returning from my visit, now automatically programmed to answer all of these questions, I am reassured to know that at least my community is invested in my happiness and success.

Emory Can We Get Some Freshman Friendly Lectures?

For some time, I’ve been dreading the Lecture Spotlight section. Most of the time the lectures seem kind of boring or confusing and they just don’t appeal to me. However, this changed when I decided to attend a lecture on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. For once, I thought that the title of the lecture was interesting and felt like the subject would be interesting as well since I’m planning on studying African-American Studies, so this had to be a win-win right? No, I was dead wrong. In fact, I was so wrong that it made me question why is there a lecture spotlight section when obviously Emory’s lectures aren’t for freshman nor are an exciting part of the freshman experience. I’ll get to that later though.

Before diving into the flaws of the lecture, it’s important to give a little background. This lecture was held by the James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) here at Emory. JWJI was founded in 2007 and is the first institute at Emory established to honor the achievements of an African-American. The mission of JWJI is to “support research, teaching, and public dialogue that examine race and intersecting dimensions of human difference including, but not limited to class, gender, religion, and sexuality.” Every Monday during the Fall 2017 semester, JWJI hosts a Race & Difference Colloquium Series at 12pm in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library.  The particular talk I attended was hosted by Noelle Morrisette who is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Morrisette’s introduction made me excited because it is “rare to have JWJI talks regarding James Weldon Johnson because not many scholars study him,” so I thought I would be in for a fascinating and highly coveted lecture…and then the lecture actually started. Essentially, Morrisette’s lecture could be split into 7 sections: the background of James Weldon Johnson, a paraphrasing of The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, the contextual impact and interpretation of the book, more information about Johnson’s other works and history, contemporary use of Johnson’s ideas, modern interpretations of the book, and finally and question and answer session. The lecture itself seemed to go over well with the majority of the audience which was filled with faculty, staff, and other adults. During the Q&A session, a few people were really engaged with the lecture and had a few burning questions. I don’t remember the exact questions, but somehow the topic of Donald Trump and Puerto Rico was brought up.

However, I think it’s important to emphasize that the lecture was well received by the adults in the audience. There were very few people in my age range or below and those that were there seemed to be very distracted and disengaged. I genuinely found the topic and points that Morrisette raised very interesting, but towards the end of the lecture, I was using every ounce of will in my body to stay off Snapchat. I think that this is a testament of most lectures here at Emory are not “freshman-friendly” in a sense that we are not the target audience and lectures aren’t set up in a way to engage us. I set-up this blog post purposefully to present this. Throughout this blog, I had two pictures which represent the two different slides that Morisette had in her presentation. This blog was very few, if any, relevant pictures, with a lot of text. Similarly, Morisette’s lecture was very few, if any, relevant pictures with a lot of text read aloud. This lack of visual multimedia would turn away many freshmen because of the era in which we live. In the age of social media, young people are becoming somewhat dependent on visual and tactile stimulation. Whether it be scrolling through your Instagram feed or tapping through a Snapchat stories, we’re more engaged when we can see and do something. I would have liked this lecture much better if it wasn’t just talking, and this is coming from someone who listens/watches TedTalks in their spare time. This is not to say that Morisette’s presentation was bad, it definitely wasn’t, this is just to show the importance of having a multimodal presentation when dealing with a specific audience. Morisette had some really engaging asides and incorporated some humor into her lecture, but having some sort of visual aid could have made the lecture go from decent to great.

What do you know about ILA?

Jenna: Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to intersect medicine, architecture, and law all into one? The affects that Women have on music and the media? Have you ever desired to intertwine social sciences, biology, and history all into one? At its inception, Emory’s Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts was considered a bold academic endeavor, and had been among the nation’s first graduate programs within humanities devoted to the new trend of interdisciplinary studies. The year was 1952, and the program’s chief architect was Emory’s new Vice President and Dean of the Faculties Ernest C. Colwell, an Emory graduate and former president of the University of Chicago, who had emerged as an early leader in the field of interdisciplinary education. This program was recognized as “a major step in the program to extend and enrich the graduate study at Emory,” according to the Emory Wheel. Sixty years later, the drive to pursue research that transcends conventional academic boundaries is still going strong, says Kim Loudermilk, a senior lecturer in the ILA and director of the program in American Studies, who is working on the history of the program. That unique intellectual environment, nourished by faculty representing a wide array of disciplines, is what first drew Loudermilk to the program, in a quest to examine the relationship between social movements, such as feminism, and the media. Today, we are going to teach our friend Sandro about all the unique opportunities this program has to offer. 
Hunter: Hey Sandro, what’s wrong?

Sandro: Nothing. I don’t want to talk.

Jenna: Sandro, please, I hate to see you so upset. What is wrong?!

Sandro: Well, you see, I can’t seem to find an area of study at Emory that satisfies my specific interests. I don’t want to be constrained to one specific major or minor!

Hunter: Well, have you ever considered Emory’s ILA Program?

Sandro: No, what’s that?

Jenna: ILA is Emory’s Institute for Liberal Arts.

Sandro: Well, I don’t know if I’m liberal, and I definitely don’t like arts.

Jenna: Haha. The ILA Program, or Institute for Liberal Arts, maintains two unique majors that you can only find here at Emory: IDS and AMST. These are the only two majors which allow students to structure their own program of study around a field of interest that they define through more of a humanities perspective. Students are in close consultation with faculty experts from different disciplines who have specific training in interdisciplinary study. As part of these Majors, students are permitted to take courses in a number of departments, provided they meet appropriate departmental prerequisites.

Sandro: So how to the IDS and AMST majors work?

Hunter: Well, You get to choose a set of courses from across Emory College that will constitute part of your major requirements (24 of 44 total required credits); This is called a “student designed concentration,” and the courses you propose are your Concentration Requirements. Senior projects tend to draw upon two or more disciplines you’ve studied with involvement of scholarly research – 50 pages is typical. Essentially, your senior project is a thesis that culminates all of your research, in order to demonstrate your ability in organizing complex ideas. However, your thesis can be composed of other forms of scholarship as well, anywhere from artistic expression to other forms of broader public engagement. Examples of this have included films, art exhibitions, or teaching in local public schools.

Sandro: Would students be given advice on types of courses to major in?

Jenna: Yes, the courses you choose for this major are definitely not random or made without the aid of expert advice. An ILA advisor will discuss with you your intellectual interests, helping you to focus on an interdisciplinary research question (or range of questions) that will be answered across your years at Emory College. It’s really an opportunity to engage in multiple particular disciplinary interests, in order to shape your own educational experience which is unique and distinctive to you.

Sandro: Okay, that actually sounds pretty cool. What are some examples of interdisciplinary questions studied by students?

Hunter: Some proposals focused on by students include: how social assumptions about artists relate to the visual art produced by the artist, how Native American leaders and writers understand and portray science -especially biology- and even how FDR’s experience with polio changed public support for medical research within the United States.

Sandro: So you’re telling me my range of possible questions can be as broad as my imagination? That’s just not safe.

Jenna: Yes, Sandro – Because interdisciplinarity involves applying two or more disciplinary methodologies, your ILA adviser will also put you in touch with other Emory faculty experts to assist in articulating your interests and selecting relevant courses that might be part of your major. Early on, you’ll identify a faculty “co-adviser,” in addition to your ILA adviser, just to ensure that you can be well supported through your academic decisions.

Hunter: Let me tell you about my buddy Kevin..

Sandro: (cuts him off) What’s his last name? I might know him.

Hunter: McPherson.

Sandro: No, I don’t think I know him.

Hunter: Anyways, Kevin is very academically minded and loves to study various subject matters. He is double majoring in ILA and Biology. He became interested in Native American alcoholism from various readings he did outside of class. ILA permitted him to study Native American alcoholism through a humanistic approach, while Biology allowed him to expand and comprehend on the scientific aspect as well. Kevin was not only able to study a blend of philosophy, history and literature in order to find how that all pertains to alcoholism, but also what he gleaned from his studies of scientific literature as well. His intertwined writing of Native American alcoholism helped him receive prestigious awards, one of which entails extensive research at Stanford University.

Sandro: Oh, yeah. His name rings a bell. But dude, I want to make money. What can I even do with an IDS or AMST major?

Hunter: You see, since students study a field they are intrinsically passionate about, businesses are more inclined to seek out their style of learning and knowledgeable experience. Students of the IDS and AMST majors, like our buddy Kevin, have worked for Google, Amazon and many other awesome firms within the Atlanta area. Many alumni are still doing fascinating things, such as serving as museum directors, becoming involved in politics in Hollywood, working in academia as professors and administrators, and one alum is even president of the United Negro College Fund. Also, students commonly continue onto the Law School or other graduate programs thereafter. A key advantage that former students of ILA have gained over students from other majors is held within the strength of their letters of recommendation, especially from teachers with whom they have collaborated with extensively.

Sandro: Wow! The ILA program seems just right for me! I wonder why Emory doesn’t promote this graduate program in the way that it promotes the Med School and other graduate schools. This program is very unique to Emory, and seems like it can provide the type of academic diversity that would help Emory take itself one step ahead of its competition. What draws students is the ability to examine or explore an idea or question or problem that cannot be addressed through one discipline alone. I believe they should discuss this program in tour groups and stress it elsewhere, perhaps even while meeting with your Pre-Major Advisors. Doing this may assist Emory in receiving more creative and passionate students who maintain a drive to do something different, but are limited by many other institutions’ academic limitations. Prospective students may find it important that one building home to a diverse professors, all with a passion to study vastly differing subjects held at ILA students’ fingertips. Other students may be impressed that at such a large institution, there is a major with a significantly finite community. However, some may be excited to have the ability to create their own curriculum, in order to further study their own curated academic passion. If these prospective students are never informed of the ILA program, they may never apply to Emory, simply because they deem it to not have what they’re looking for. The ILA is a perfect demonstration of the multitude of academic opportunities at Emory, and how there is simply a learning style for everyone.

Jenna:  If education is really an intrinsically risky enterprise, because of its focus on the need for transformation, then we need to be open to the discourses of constantly changing times and the unexpected conversations that threaten to turn everything we thought upside down. We should not give up music, insight, conversation, or public scholarship. We should leave room for growth upon the free state of education and the liberal arts. As time goes on, it seems that the problems we face as a society are becoming more and more complex, and the questions we need to ask become more difficult to answer from merely one perspective. The interdisciplinary work and training that the ILA provides teaches us how to do just that: approaching the problems of the world from multiple perspectives. The ILA seems to partially mirror Emory as a university, but also a specific reflection of its deep and broad history.

In fact, the ILA was instituted as a graduate doctoral program 60 years ago, when not many doctoral programs existed at Emory. It was founded primarily on the basis of a felt need for living conversation among literature, philosophy, religion, theology, and history. A little later this conversation expanded to include public scholarship and the social sciences, especially in response to the movement for civil rights in higher education, linking Emory with historically black institutions in Atlanta and beyond. Gradually, the ILA became the unique interdisciplinary institute it is today: a hybrid departmental home for many interrelated programs, faculty, and students. It now comprises a graduate interdisciplinary program with a broad range of focused interests, including American studies, science and society, history of medicine/science, race and difference, visual studies, interdisciplinary humanities and critical studies, and some outstanding certificates and other programmatic concentrations. Above all, the ILA is an institute, rather than a department, that fosters existing and new initiatives that cross traditional disciplinary for new possibilities within our university – a laboratory for a deeper sense of intellectual community.

ILA Program

If you would like a more detailed analysis of the history of ILA you can look at all of it on the following website:

Contact Information: 404.727.7601 / lyterry [at] emory [dot] edu


By: Jenna Gursky, Hunter Goldberg, and Sandro

Scott Mescudi > Everyone

“My whole thing is just to put out positive messages in the music, give people something that can change their lives.” – Scott Mescudi

Kid Cudi performing

Scott Mescudi has changed many aspects in the world of hip-hop. Known by his stage name, Kid Cudi, Scott grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has paved the way for your favorite new artists. Whether you realize it or not, Kid Cudi is more than just “Day n Nite” and “Pursuit of Happiness”, as he is able to create a new world of defiance and joy in his music. Connecting with the everyday struggles of the younger generations, Kid Cudi’s discography serves as an escape from reality by bringing listeners on the journey of “The Man on the Moon”.  Rather than highlighting the satisfactions found in life, Cudi addresses the darker truths of depression, pain, and sorrow as his music emphasizes the power of realism. By doing so, Mescudi is able to connect with his audience in a deeper and more meaningful way that resembles the influence of Kurt Cobain. With countless critically acclaimed albums and a cult like fan base, there is only one thing missing in Kid Cudi’s legacy: the credit he deserves.

Man on the Moon Volume I (Left) Man on the Moon Volume II (Right)

Kid Cudi is an easy target for criticism. While his music is played by millions of fans around the world, mainstream culture likes to discredit the impact he truly has. Because his music does not easily fall into the norms of rap, many do not like the dark and mysterious path that Cudi follows. Combining grunge rock with hip-hop, Kid Cudi embodies the melting pot that music culture should be. Instead of following the status-quo, Kid Cudi is one of the only artists to fearlessly break creative boundaries and truly show a progression of differing ideas and aesthetics. Whether it is the “Man on the Moon” or “Mr. Rager”, each album is connected to different personal identities that express emotions and relate with various groups of listeners. While Mescudi’s first two albums were praised by practically everyone, there was definitely a turn in his career that hurt his mainstream legacy. Following the Man on the Moon series, Kid Cudi released “Indicud” and “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven”, two albums that were considered disappointments in the eyes of popular culture. Famous music blog, Pitchfork, wrote, “While his diehard fans await his long-delayed Man on the Moon III*,* Kid Cudi opted instead to release a 90-minute, double-disc rock album. Unfiltered, unpolished, and uncomfortable, the album is a failure, and not even a noble one.” While mainstream culture around the world lost its faith in Scott Mescudi, your favorite artists today remained loyal to his vision.

Kid Cudi, Kanye West, and Travis Scott

Whether you realize it or not, Cudi has inspired many of our favorite artists today. I truly believe there would be no Travis Scott, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, and Lil Uzi Vert without the inspiration from Kid Cudi. Travis Scott even said in a 2015 interview that Cudi is a “part of [his] story, part of [his] life. There would be no Travis Scott if it wasn’t for him.” Having multiple credits on Kanye’s “808s and Heartbreaks” and frequently collaborating with techno artists, Kid Cudi is a clear inspiration in the new wave of auto-tuned/techno rap. Mescudi also diverged from the genre of “gangsta rap” and instead embodied the character of a rock star, which artists like Lil Uzi Vert and others have taken. With the influence that Cudi has left behind, one may wonder why he does not receive the credit he deserves. We as people often criticize the unfamiliar instead of embracing it. With experts and artists around the world praising his influence and revolutionary style it is clear that popular culture fails to appreciate the impact of true artistry.

Kid Cudi is performing in Atlanta on 10/12

Click the link to purchase tickets:

Pictures I took at the concert:


“Kid Cudi – The Fearless Artist.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Oct. 2016″



Fall Break on Cane River

The excitement had been building for weeks. Everytime my aunt’s name popped up on my phone, I would smirk because I knew it would be something pertaining to the surprise that we were planning for my mawmaw and pawpaw. I had bought my plane ticket and began to make my packing list. The only people who knew I was coming were my aunt and my mom. More than tired of food from the duc-ling, I submitted my list of meal requests to my mom so she could bless me with some home-cooked meals. From the smothered turkey necks to the shrimp and grits, to the spaghetti and meatsauce, to the meat pies, I might have gained my freshman 15 in this one week.

Spending time with my family gave me the refreshed feeling I was looking for but it also completely obliterated my sense of homesickness. I am completely fine with not seeing my family until Thanksgiving. My curfew went back into effect while I was home, there were many more chores to do than there are in my small dorm room, and everyone wanted to know who I was dating and what was my decided major.

My short time in Natchitoches was pretty eventful. I got to take professional pictures with my godson, be diagnosed with pneumonia, and finally go to mass at my church. I was able to spend time with my brother for the weekend. The best part of my weekend was everyone talked super fast and nobody commented on my accent.

The Milgram Ex*cough* “Hey Josh, what is this again?”

The Oxford Road Building’s lecture room filled up. Interested people, as well as students fulfilling a class attendance requirement found their seats. The doors closed and the speaker, Dr. Brennan, started to introduce herself and the topic: The Milgram Experiment. Just as she proceeded to the second slide of her Powerpoint presentation, it happened. A loud cough, followed by some sniffles came from the back of the lecture room. A couple of heads turned, and saw an uninterested freshman who was busy typing away on his computer. If only they had known then how the rest of the lecture would go, then they would have tried to move as close to the front of the room as possible. For a full 45 minutes, the audience was subjected to Sandro’s coughs, sneezes, computer noises and more. It is truly amazing that he didn’t get thrown out.

The Oxford Road Building lecture room

This presentation on the Milgram Experiment was a part of the Williams Memorial lecture series, a group of lectures focused on great American works of liberal arts. Students who are enrolled in Emory’s Voluntary Core program are required to attend the lectures and learn about something they might not have found out about otherwise. The lectures typically take place every second Wednesday at 4:30pm. This specific day, Sandro was swarmed with work but somehow managed to make it to the lecture. He decided to bring his computer with him in order to be as efficient as possible, despite how distracting he knew his device would be. Sandro and Josh sat at the back of the lecture room to try and not interfere with the audience, but most people sat near the back anyways because they were uninterested.

Sandro working on his lab

“Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. He examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense was often based on “obedience” — that they were just following orders from their superiors. That’s exactly what Milgram wanted to test in his experiment” Exclaimed Dr. Brennan, but all Sandro could think of was that his lab was due at 5:00 PM and it was already 4:58 PM. What would he do? Submit the half-finished lab or- “What’s she talking about ?” said Sandro as he turned to his partner Josh on his right, letting out half a dozen coughs before actually completing the sentence. Josh, completely disregarding Sandro’s cry for help, said that the girl sitting in front of them has turned around and shifted to the farthest point of her seat every time Sandro sneezed or coughed. Both partners laughed as Sandro tapped on her shoulder to get her attention so he could apologize to her, but instead ended up coughing up a lung.

Josh and Sandro sitting in the lecture

Dr. Brennan then proceeded to explain what exactly the experiment encompassed. The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher’. The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates (pretending to be a real participant). The participant was told that they were taking part in a study to test how the brain responds to a pain stimulus when learning new things. It is now 5 PM and Sandro’s chemistry lab has been submitted. Excited, he begins closing his laptop, but not before accidentally hitting the play button on his MacBook Pro™ and blasting Black Dog by Led Zeppelin for everyone to hear (28 minutes and 10 seconds into the lecture video if you want to listen to the tunes). Panicking, he slams his hands on they keyboard letting out a wild sneeze, and by some miracle one of the fingers must’ve hit the play button once more because the music stopped. “F**k”…. “God f**king damn it” said Sandro almost as loudly as his music had played.

Snapping back to the lecture Sandro noticed that Dr. Brennan had begun saying “The learner (a confederate called Mr. Wallace) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms, and the teacher and researcher went into a room next door that contained an electric shock generator and a row of switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 450 volts (XXX). The teacher is told to administer an electric shock every time the learner makes a mistake, increasing the level of shock each time.”

The layout of the experiment

The learner gave mainly wrong answers (on purpose), and for each of these, the teacher gave him an “electric shock”, to which the learner pretended was real.

When the teacher refused to administer a shock the experimenter was to give a series of orders/prods to ensure they continued.

There were 4 prods and if one was not obeyed then the experimenter (Mr. Williams) read out the next prod, and so on. 40 minutes into the lecture, Sandro couldn’t help but wonder out loud, “Am I high off cough syrup?” Looking over at Josh he whispered, “I mean.. I’ve been taking 30 milligrams of Dayquil along with 2 pills of advil, and on the bottle it doesn’t even say how much i should be taking, I just.. *cough*”

After surveying the audience about what they thought of the experiment, Dr. Brennan revealed that close to 66% of participants in the experiment blindly followed the instructions of the high-and-mighty experimenter, “shocking” the learner all the way up to 450 volts (XXX). The experiment found that a scary amount of people were absolutely obedient to someone who was in a position of power. Dr. Brennan also provided come statistics for when they varied the conditions of the experiment. For instance, when the teacher had touch proximity to the leaner they found that the number of people who followed until the highest “shock” decreased by a significant amount. The lecture then transitioned into a question and answer segment, where the few people who paid full attention were excited to ask about experiment details and ethics.

Sandro leaving the lecture

With this final thought as well as Josh’s quirky “You won’t leave the lecture, you won’t” Sandro got up as the 3rd person had finished asking his question and started heading towards the door. After climbing over 4 people who were sitting in his row, he made it to the door. He gave out the signature cough, sneeze, sniffle, and blow before looking back at Josh and then exiting the lecture room.

As he met up with Josh outside the lecture hall, they started discussing the post, how in the world were they going to make this lecture in any way, shape or form creative to fit the in class rubric?  They talked and talked until they came to a conclusion. *cough*

By Sandro and Josh

Link to the video of the full lecture: