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


The Possibility of Peace

Climbing Masada

Throughout Freshman Parent’s weekend, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thanks to Professor Kenneth W. Stein. As an expert writer, teacher, and lecturer in the history and politics of the Middle Eastern Studies since 1977, particularly with respect to Israel and Arab-Israeli relations, Stein conveyed major insight into the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, located in room 305 of White Hall. He is currently the President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE); Under Stein’s initiative, Emory has established the Middle East Research Program and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel – ISMI.

Some background of the matter is that the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating back to the end of the 19th century. The conflict began as a struggle over land; From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known as Palestine. After the Arab-Israeli War of 1947-48, Palestine was divided into the areas we see now: Israel,

Gal at Gaza Strip

The Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. Jewish Israelis, whose ancestors began migrating to the area in the 1880s, say their claim to the land is based on a promise from God, as well as for the need of a safe haven after widespread hostility toward the Jewish people, also known as anti-Semitism. In contrast, the Palestinian Arabs believe they are the rightful inhabitants of the land because their ancestors have lived there for hundreds of years prior.

The Gaza Strip is a rectangular piece of land along the Mediterranean coast between Israel and Egypt. The majority of its approximate 1.4 million residents are Palestinian refugees, many of whom have been living in refugee camps for decades. 80 percent were estimated to be living in poverty in mid-2007.

Camel Riding at Bedouin Tents

Israel is a small area—approximately 10,000 square miles. The competing claims to the territory are not reconcilable if one group exercises exclusive political control over all of it. Jewish claims to this land are based on biblical promises to Abraham and his descendants, on the fact that the land was the historical site of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and on Jews’ need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. Palestinian Arab claims to the land are based on their continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represented the demographic majority until 1948. They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim. They do not believe that they should forfeit their land to compensate Jews for Europe’s crimes against them.

From Professor Stein’s discussion, I learned that Jewish educators shy away from teaching subjects that they deem too political, arguing that politics does not belong in the classroom. Educators of Judaism tend to begin with the premise that Jewish students must learn to solely support Israel and defend its government.

Family in Tel-Aviv

As a niece of my Zionist Aunt and Uncle living in Israel, this concerns me greatly. I tend to question why many Jewish Institutions encourage critical thinking when teaching ancient Jewish texts –challenging students to consider multiple voices, give expression to minority viewpoints and ask difficult questions — but when teaching about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, they avoid this approach.

Educators believe that their role is delineated on teaching young Jews that Israel is the core to their Jewish identity.

The Kotel [Western Wall]
Yet, teachers have a responsibility to teach not only the vision and dream of Israel, but also its harsh reality as well. So, it is seemingly impossible to neglect these appropriate political discussions.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to Jewish life. It’s as important to Jewish identity as prayer and the weekly Torah portion. While American Jews can certainly live a prosperous lifestyle without ever thinking about Israel, it remains the epicenter of all Jewish politics. Involving middle and high school students in the debates around the conflict allows them to grapple with Jewish history, explore the many variations of Zionism, and comprehend religious and political differences within the Jewish community.  

Jews must acknowledge the Palestinian perspectives, primarily because we can’t wish Palestinians away nor pretend they don’t exist. We have a moral obligation to listen carefully to their stories and effectively comprehend what they have endured as a result of war and displacement. If we want a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must engage directly with Palestinians — not by criticizing or attacking them, but by genuinely trying to understand their experiences, starting in the classroom.

Military Training Base

The children and teenagers within our Jewish communities are bright, creative and eager to learn. They are capable of discussing divergent viewpoints and can wrestle with difficult issues; They can understand that Israel is a modern nation-state embroiled in a complicated political situation wherein nobody can become neglected. In order to ensure proper learning, young children can sample Israeli and Palestinian foods, attend cultural events, and learn songs in Hebrew and Arabic. Older students can read novels, have structured debates and mock trials, write poems from multiple perspectives and conduct interviews with family members, activists, and scholars.

Many individuals within society want to avoid fruitless debate about the conflict, but within a classroom setting can employ creative teaching techniques that allow students to genuinely engage with the material.  This type of learning will help students prosper, encourage them to develop their own unique ideas about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and foster a sense of respect and understanding for others. These are the kinds of attributes that the next generation of Jewish citizens desperately need.

This topic is one that has remained very close to my heart,

Top of Masada

as my Aunt, Uncle, first cousins, and even their children have suffered and fought through the many wars in which plague israelites every-so-often. On my second trip to Israel last summer, I was immediately captivated by my special country, one that I admired tremendously and soon grew to love over the five weeks I had spent there. Over that summer, like so many others who are drawn to this extraordinary place, I had climbed Masada, swam in the Dead Sea, tasted extravagant foods, met a unique range of individuals, and had driven from one Biblical city onto the next. I had walked through exhibitions of the hell of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, stood on the Golan Heights, spent nights star-gazing in the Negev, and shot an M-16 rifle at one of Israel’s very own Military training bases.


Shooting M-16 in Lower Galilee

Out of those experiences came a steadfast commitment to Israel’s security that has never wavered for a single minute in my 18 years of life. I have also often visited West Bank communities, where I met Palestinians struggling for basic freedom and dignity amidst the occupation and passed by military checkpoints that can make even the most routine daily trips to work or school mundane.

It is held within the vitality of Israel to keep open the possibility of peace, by consistently educating bright individuals, so that we not lose hope in the two-state solution, no matter how difficult it may seem [because there really is no viable alternative]. The plight of many Palestinian refugees is heartbreaking, and many, especially Professor Stein, feel this must be addressed.

Tel-Aviv Beach

As part of commencing a comprehensive resolution, their suffering must be acknowledged, and there will be a need to have options and assistance in locating permanent homes. The international community can provide significant support and assistance, especially starting by educating young students through Jewish organizations and institutions.


If you would like to learn more about Professor Kenneth Stein:

  • http://history.emory.edu/home/people/faculty/stein-kenneth.html
  • https://www.israelinstitute.org/about/leadership/dr-kenneth-w-stein
  • http://www.israelemb.org/washington/Speakers-Guide/Society-and-Politics/Pages/Dr.-Kenneth-W.-Stein.aspx
  • Search for Ken Stein on the Course Atlas for his upcoming lectures


NY for the Weekend

It all began with a text I had received from my mom approximately four days prior to Fall Break: “Clear your schedule for this upcoming Saturday,” it read. “We’re going into the City at 5:45 for your final birthday surprise.”

As I had celebrated my birthday just a week prior to Fall Break, it was the very first time I had not been awoken to the sweet aroma of freshly made chocolate chip pancakes, steaming hot coffee, all accompanied by a side of extremely ripe berries, prepared by Mother Dearest. It was the first time I hadn’t been home to see the jolting excitement gleaming from my mother’s eyes as I had turned one year older. Rather, this year had been spent in close proximity to a variety of new friends, new adventurous foods, and a completely contrasting city than my hometown of New York. While all of these factors were of course enticing, and being away from home on my 18th birthday sure had its perks, I maintained an utter void within my heart that seemingly could not be filled.

Bailey & Nala

The days before break truly could not have moved slower, but I had finally arrived home after an exhausting trek through Hartsfield Jackson into Laguardia Airport on Friday evening. I was initially tackled down by my two dogs, and was welcomed into the familiarity of home once again.

“Okay so, I didn’t want to cook too much, but I’ve prepared a few things for your arrival this weekend,” my mom began to emphatically recite every meal she had cooked throughout the past week ~ WITH a broken wrist. “I made you roasted chicken, your favorite Maztoh Ball Soup, sweet potato pie, brisket and a variety of vegetables. Oh, and I also made a Kugel with this new recipe I tried. I also bought a turkey, so you’ll tell me if you want me to make that too, okay?”

Sweet Potato Pie

My mouth dropped wide open and I began to crack up. “Ma,” I said, “you really didn’t have to go through all that trouble. But thank you so much, I’ve really missed your cooking.”

And I meant that sincerely; Becoming a first-year college student has allowed me to recognize and appreciate all that I was granted while growing up, and just how lucky I’d been to have someone in this world who cares so deeply for me. I took a walk through the kitchen, and wow, the aroma truly smelt incredible. I guess since I was absent for the Jewish holidays she wanted to replicate every single meal for me. And, well, that is what she did.

NYC Skyline

As Saturday evening approached, my patience was wearing thin. My mom came into my room with a blindingly bright smile, exclaiming: “I got us tickets to Dear Evan Hansen!!!!”

I was booming with enthusiasm. Up until the age of nine, my annual birthday celebrations would usually entail seeing some form of Broadway Show with my Mom: either Mary Poppins, Wicked, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, and many others. With that thought in mind, I immediately harkened back to those special moments we shared together when I was a child. Excitement prevailed, so we quickly scarfed down some steaming hot soup and went on our way. As we arrived, we made our way to our respective seats and awaited the performance.

As a spectator, I initially noticed the purposeful lighting on stage: blue lighting to represent sadder moments; whiter tones to represent suspense; warm yellow tones to represent happiness. I began to analyze the performativity of the show, not only while enjoying the vibrant song and role play, but to better comprehend the producer’s intended rhetoric for the audience of Broadway.

Momma & I

I had been looking forward to seeing this Broadway show for quite some time. The story line is as follows: Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) is a seventeen year old High School student, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder simply out of his own control. Wearing a striped short-sleeved shirt, he sits on his bed and pecks away at his computer, only somewhat hindered by the hard white cast on his left arm. As he types on his computer — FaceTimes, iChats, Facebook images, and Tweets — are projected onto walls which surround him. But the person Evan is writing to is in the room; He doesn’t have many friends, and on the advice of his therapist, he addresses supportive letters to himself in order to improve his self-esteem.

As a culprit of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I too felt extremely moved and consistently taken back at how relative and spot-on Ben Platt’s performance was; Tears, laughs, and wales erupted from all members of the audience. Almost every person was wiping their eyes at some point or another. However, what truly struck me was the main actor’s iconic mannerisms: the hunched posture he maintained throughout the show, the facial tics and nail-biting with repetitive worrying of his fingers at the seam of his pants, the way in which he never for a moment lost his finely grained physical expression of Evan, even in the midst of the 11 songs that he performs (three of which are wrenching solos). He conveys such longing, loneliness, guilt and shame in those songs through his vocals – of course – but also through the many pained contortions of his body and face.

Dear Evan Hansen Playbill

It’s hard to envision a character in a musical who is so relatable to so many people in the crowd each night — teenagers struggling with anxiety, parents clinging to whatever fine thread still connects them to their kids, people who are ashamed of something they’ve done or who fear that they are unlovable. It seems like a more intense level of responsibility, psychologically speaking, than most Broadway stars have ever had to bear.

As the show came to a close, my mom and I were emotionally drained. With a look of exhaustion and sadness swept across our faces, this profound performance moved us in ways in which I’ve never really experienced before.

We then took a long stroll to the parking garage and decided to stop for a classic slice of pizza on the way. The show was so moving, insightful, and unique that it truly left us speechless. We shoveled mouthfuls of pizza into our faces and smiled. We weren’t speaking, but we both just happy. My mom maintained her genuine grin and muttered, “I couldn’t have imagined seeing this show with anyone else; It was just so perfect.”

I nodded and agreed, and thanked her for such a wonderfully special evening. As we stepped into the car and took our quick ride back to Long Island, it struck me: I was never able to view just how unique and worthwhile the maintenance of such a close mother/daughter relationship can be. I felt so lucky that night to have seen such a heart-wrenching performance next to a woman with a heart bigger than this world. I will always cherish how close we are, the laughs we share, and the cries we’ve endured simultaneously, as I believe our relationship will remain strong for the rest of my life.

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:  http://ila.emory.edu/about/history/index.html

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


By: Jenna Gursky, Hunter Goldberg, and Sandro

Anne Waldman’s Passionate Performance

The Beat Generation & Counterculture, 1940-1975: an exhibition celebrating the contributions of the writers, poets and artists of America’s Beat Generation. This exhibition reconsiders postwar literature and the ways it mirrored, predicted, and remade the culture around it. With its emphasis on the influential group known as “the Beats,” the show rediscovers a number of fascinating countercultural writers and remains the first major consideration of the Beats in the U.S. in nearly a decade.

The Beat Generation emerged as a key part of the U.S. counterculture in the years following World War II. The exhibition showcases the Beat spirit of exploration and experimentation around practicing politics, making art and building community.

This is an exhibition that looks at the power of literature to change our perceptions and to influence our culture. Thus, having an impact that is multi-generational and cross-disciplinary. All are invited to study, peruse and to be inspired by such creative energy. There remains a diverse group of people within this movement, united despite their differences by a commitment to radical experimentation and resistance to the mainstream; They have women and people of color writing, who congruently want to share their stories.

As we ventured into the realm of poetry for one hour in the Oxford Road Building, we began to evaluate and reminisce upon the environment in which the Beat took place. Co-curated by English PhD candidates Aaron Goldsman and Sarah Harsh, the pre-exhibition event began with the introduction of Anne Waldman’s endeavors.

As a prominent figure within the Beat Poetry Generation, Anne Waldman has been recognized as an organizer and instigator for the experimental poetry community; She has worked as an editor, teacher, performer, and cultural/political activist. Waldman, in her own words, is “drawn to the magical efficacies of language as a political act.”

Waldman has raised the bar as a feminist, activist and powerful performer. She has read in the streets, as well as numerous larger venues such as the Dodge Literary Festival in the U.S. and the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, while continuing to teach poetics all over the world. She remains a highly original “open field investigator” of consciousness, committed to the possibilities of radical shifts of language and state of mind, in order to create new modal structures and montages of attention. Waldman has received numerous awards and honors for her poetry, including the American Book Awards’ Lifetime Achievement, the Dylan Thomas Memorial Award, the National Literary Anthology Award, and the Shelley Memorial Award for poetry.

As Waldman entered the room, her long, dark hair, draped in black clothing and complemented with gold accents, set the tone for her poetry readings; She seemingly embodied the spirit and soul of her presentation. We began to recognize Waldman’s strong, firm stance as she spoke in a deep and fiery tone, which emphasized her rhetoric and purposeful language. Her words, wrought with passion and embrace, conveyed a lively and powerful voice. As she spoke, we glanced around at the ubiquitous captivation that took place within each individual of her audience: all eyes, bodies, and ears were focused directly on her.

Waldman’s poetic hymns are deeply connected to her work as an activist, along with her practice of Tibetan Buddhism. As she remains true to her artistic integrity, Waldman utilizes transitions which speak upon her performativity, often including rhetorical usage of chants, song, and emphatic reading.

As we employed Anne Waldman’s stylistic approach to poetry, we curated a poem which embodies the many aspects of our rapidly changing ecosystem. Just as Waldman conveys her message on environmental change, we harnessed her methodology within our reading. The Beat Generation, from 1940-1975, was an era in which poetry and art were simultaneous commentaries on American culture and political issues. Now, maintaining consistent ideologies, writers like Anne Waldman have brought back to life the importance and value of these messages in today’s society. Her galvanizing performances, extensive collaborations, and radical mission to inform our world on constantly changing policies and environment have reminded us just how powerful the effect of poetry can be.

Waldman’s provision and emphasis upon poignant views within her writing have conveyed not only the importance poetry has on our rapidly changing world, but how to properly implore the mechanisms of rhetoric within her poems. Thus, emanating her message tenfold. We highly recommend attending one of Anne Waldman’s performances, as we guarantee you’re in for a passionate, lively, informative experience like none other.

If you want to learn more about upcoming shows in the Beat Generation Exhibition, utilize this link : http://arts.emory.edu/calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D124582818

McGavin, Maureen. “Emory exhibition celebrates America’s Beat Generation.” Emory News Center, 15 Sept. 2017, news.emory.edu/stories/2017/09/upress_beats_exhibition/campus.html. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Jenna Gursky and Daquon Wilson


Jenna: Friday afternoon, Janet, Jenna, and their two friends Ashley and Camille ventured into my eccentric fashion district known as Little Five Points. As they stepped foot into the vastly undiscovered world of L5P, they came to recognize how my life is not only shaped by various groups of people due to differences in historical foundation of spaces, but of my location in proximity to other influential spaces in Atlanta. With my Greenwich Village vibe, they glanced around a bit, and reminisced upon our unique street layout. Because of my deep rooted iconic culture of city living and freedom of expression, my area has not developed into anything more than just that throughout these past 50 years. As I have been known for a certain type of merchandise and culture, you can seemingly find thrift shops and boutiques, complemented by eclectic street musicians, on every corner you turn.

Janet: My ambience intrigued the girls, with the friendly people that roam my streets. I’m a great place to rap in, sell art, and have a good time with loved ones. Although my streets aren’t the safest, I am nonetheless an inviting neighborhood. My one-of-a-kind boutiques offer distinctive items and an experience like never before. Young or old, I have stores that suit your soul.

Jenna: Soon enough, my shoppers began to develop the streets of L5P from anonymous into quirky in no time. My vintage apparel, vinyl and smoke shops, independent bookstores, burger joints and pizza parlors will have you leaving with a smile plastered upon your face. Along with the many things to do, culture has played a significant role in my upbringing. “People watching” has been described as a sport, as my town is inviting to individuals stemming from all cultures.

Janet: As corporate chains have threatened my existence, a special type of zoning rule has limited my number of stores and their sizes to a mere 5,000 square feet. This ensures the prevention of large chains such as hotels and shopping malls. In fact, in 1975 my communities united as one to fight for my future endeavors; I hope they continue to keep my neighborhood the way it is. Families from all around the world come to my shops, and I can guarantee you will always have a fun time on my streets. If you’re ever looking for a marvelous meal or the best second hand clothes, then I am meant for you.

Jenna: Junkman’s Daughter isn’t just the name of Pam Majors’ Little Five Points store. When she was a child, her father would come home each night with his truck filled with random items he’d purchased that day in metro Atlanta shops that were going out of business. Her parents would sift through the day’s haul, which her dad would then sell in one of his salvage shops. When her father retired in 1981, Majors, then in her early 20s and living in Candler Park, went through the flotsam and jetsam of his life. She discovered rare finds and gems such as old Beatles notebooks and 1950s leather jackets, and saw a chance to put her spin on the wares. In 1982 she opened a shop next to a former methadone clinic in the business district nearby called Little Five Points. The store’s name was biographical and authentic: Junkman’s Daughter.”

Janet: Overall, it seemed that Janet, Jenna, Camille, and Ashley had a wonderful and unique experience exploring my uncharted world. With Halloween approaching, they’ll be sure to come back and visit my stores for some boisterous costumes.

Jenna: The reality is that I have been continuously changing through the years, yet my DNA has remained stable. My location, sandwiched between Candler Park and Freedom Park, is home to individuals sharing the same values of commitment to diversity. The people entering my little village congruently maintain the desire to live in a neighborhood with varying economic classes, spiritual traditions, and races. However, to continue my flourishment is dependent upon our future advocators in generations to come.

Christian, Scott. “The Junkman’s Cowgirl.” Creative Loafing, 25 Mar. 2004, www.creativeloafing.com/home/article/13014204/the-junkmans-cowgirl. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.

Janet Nguyen and Jenna Gursky

Spectators, Players, and Perseverance

This past Sunday, we decided to venture into the world of sports here at Emory. As we stepped onto the scorching hot metal bleachers, we initially noticed spectators holding sun umbrellas with iced cold drinks in-hand to cool down. We, on the other hand, were suffering tremendously. As we wiped rivulets of sweat off our dripping faces, we wondered: “How can these players be compensating so well in this heat?!” Both the Emory Soccer team, along with Birmingham-Southern College’s team, were dressed in their thick T-shirts, long shorts, and high knee socks – the sweat and pressure was on for these women. Yet, as temperatures had risen, our team only progressed more, persevering through the treacherous heat. Throughout the first half of the game, we began to recognize the mutual dedication between not only the players, but the fans watching the game as well. The juxtaposition between the players, field, and their communicative strategies was quite harmonious. During half-time, we decided to interview some fans of the team, in order to gain insight on their personal dedication for coming out to watch.

Sun umbrellas: a necessity

We commenced our interviews by asking a woman in-line at the vending machine of her reasoning for attending the game. We initially explained our blog post idea, as “trying to gain insight on players and spectators dedication to the game.” She seemed intrigued, and gladly obliged to assist us. 

“Are you a parent here?” We began asking.

“Yes,” she replied. “I’m visiting my daughter this weekend, and it’s really cool to see her play in person. We usually have to watch her games on the computer, since we’re from Chicago. I’ve been watching her games ever since she was five – because that’s just what parents do!”

Susie, mother of a third-year student here at Emory, seemed to be tremendously committed to her daughter’s soccer, even throughout her duration of college. After speaking with her, we watched in the stands how she called out and cheered for her daughter immensely. It was clear how as a mother, she deems her daughter’s sports career to be of utmost importance. She exuded an intrinsic motivation to come out and support her kin, just as any loved one should.

We then noticed a twenty-something year old woman purchasing an iced cold water bottle. Again, introducing our idea, we started off by asking what her purpose for attending this game was. After we introduced ourselves, Jessie, amidst her mother Nancy, began to explain her prior experience with the sport:

“I actually played for the Women’s Soccer team at BSC all throughout college,” said Jessie. “I’m from Kennesaw and now live in Augusta, so I decided to come out and watch.”

“How did you feel your dedication to the sport interfered with your studies?” We then asked.

“I mean, D3 is a good balance between academics and sports,” she started, “but we usually had practice every day though – around 2 ½ hours. If you were just a runner, you’d only have to practice 1 ½ hours, the length of a game. We also played Emory every season… and I actually tore my ACL playing here. It’s my second year out of school and I try to watch the games every chance I get.”

As we stepped away from Jessie and her mother, we reminisced upon each individual’s similar yet contrasting motivation for being here: While we show a desire to gain perspective, others come to support their loved ones, while most come to give encouragement for their past teammates.

Feels like 90°F

After stepping inside to cool off, we entered the second half of the game. Just a few minutes in, our focus began to wander away from the soccer players to the conversations of the zealous relatives who sat behind.

“Go DeDe!” One man proclaimed as his daughter’s teammate finally scored a goal. “SHOOT!” He yelled out. “As much as she’s been working – she deserved that one [shot]. If she was old enough I’d buy her a drink!”

The comment elicited bountiful laughter from those nearby, and immediately our eyes fell upon the soccer player, DeDe, who continued to play with unabating enthusiasm despite the unrelenting Georgia heat. Perseverance was evident among all the lady Eagle soccer players, which got us thinking about how  interconnectivity between dedication and perseverance applies to life here at Emory.

Just as injuries and weather conditions can serve as obstacles in a soccer game, the road to achieving our aspirations may lead to many hardships. Having a set goal in mind that one is passionate about makes obstructions that arise in our paths worthwhile, and the gratification received from achieving our dreams tenfold.

It would be hard to imagine the nosebleeds and torn ACLs these soccer players endure are to no avail. Even amidst the most crucial moments of the game, it was clear that women were willing to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their team. Although such selfless and diligent behavior may put players at risk physically, having their family and friends there to provide support has ultimately assisted their drive to win.

Throughout the duration of the second half, we interviewed Kettly, a mother sitting next to us in the stands:

“Have you been a fan of the team for a while?” We asked.

She began by telling us: “I’ve been a fan of the team since my daughter, a junior, joined [the team] in her freshman year.”

We followed up with asking if she was from around here, and how often she has attended the games: “We are from Tampa,” Kettly followed up, “which is a seven hour drive away. I try to make it to as many home games as I can.”

“Has the team been doing well so far?” We concluded.

“A couple of seniors graduated from the team last year,” said Kettly, “and we have lost a few games. But the team has been doing well, and it is always good to watch.”

About five minutes after we interviewed Kettly, her daughter, Danielle, scored the fourth goal in what eventually lead to a 5-0 demolishment of BSC. We made sure to congratulate Danielle after the game. On the walk back to our respective dorms, we reflected upon the underlying theme that paralleled the lives of Emory athletes and students not committed to sports.

Emory wins 5-0

Whether you are a spectator or player, individuals congruently share some form of intrinsic motivation throughout their lives. As many students of Emory arrive with a drive to succeed academically, a vast majority of student athletes are forced to give up the development of other aspects of their lives. How much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals? ⚽️

Jenna Gursky, Josh Maisel & Rachel McNeil

Wellness Wednesdays

As school work and studying have begun to pile up as we near mid-semester, a bit of stress is normal within every college student. However, becoming proactive in managing that stress is vital in achieving a healthier mind and soul. To help manage some of my tension, this past Wednesday I decided to delve into the world of attending, Yoga in the Park.

I, in fact, happen to love yoga, yet my only prior experience had been in a 95 degree room, with rivulets of sweat dripping off my nose, that is; I was enthusiastic to try this new outdoor adventure. For many, yoga can offer a multitude of benefits for the body, soul, and spirit. As a victim of JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis), I aim towards achieving a healthy mind within a healthy body. This past week, I decided to venture into the realm of peace and solitude for one hour in the park of Atlantic Station. Through my practice of breathing techniques and meditation, I will share with you what I recognized in these 60 minutes of tranquility.

Tabletop Position

Prior to my departure, I slipped on my lycra leggings and tank top, tied up my Nikes, grabbed my yoga mat and headed out on the town. The ride from Emory was about 30 minutes, and I could feel butterflies fluttering in my stomach on the drive there; My excitement was pulsing. As I stepped out of the car, a gust of warm air swept across my face while blowing my hair in various directions. I then scoped out the area and felt a certain ~East Village, New York City~ vibe. While taking in a deep, elongated breath – I smiled – immediately feeling a sense of joy in the air. The sun was just beginning to set, and a positive energy set in, enclosing itself around me.

As dusk approached the class commenced, just around 6:30pm. Having arrived five minutes past, I laid out my yoga mat and caught up with the class in the Downward Dog stretch. The class was held on a smooth tarp rectangular field, with observers from nearby restaurants surrounding the outer edges to watch, as we transformed from one pose to the next.


I immediately acknowledged the diversity between each and every participant of the class. In this open environment, Mothers were able to bring their children, lovers came with significant others, and even a variety of people brought along their canine companions to take part in this journey. Since this was an hour of free admission, a number of people joined in halfway through simply because of each participant’s dedication.

I then turned to my left, and caught a glimpse of a little girl attempting to remain in her Downward Dog pose, trying her very best to keep up with the rest of us. I smiled to myself, and looked around a bit more. I noticed her gaze varied from down towards the ground, then back up to her mother, a well trained Yogi with sculpted back muscles and a toned body. The girl was mimicking her every action, as her mother kept turning to check and see if she was alright. I then thought of myself in that very moment, as we all shared something in common that day: a maintenance of the same intrinsic value of Yoga, and its abundant benefits.

Downward Dog

While floating from one pose to the next, I did not feel the atmosphere to be intimidating whatsoever, rather it was quite peaceful. It seemed to me that Wellness Wednesdays are the type of activity which recognizes and values diversity in all of their participants. The location, directly centered within Atlantic Station, offers people not only the opportunity to stop their busy day and take an hour to destress, but a chance to become a part of something much larger than themselves. The instructor, Raji, was incredibly assistive; He guided everyone through the correct positioning and stretch while understanding each person’s own limitations.

“It’s cool,” he announced as we transformed through our warrior one into warrior two, “We’re all in the same pose, just different positions; That’s like life.”

Inspired by his words, I introduced myself to Raji at the conclusion of our class, telling him of my purposeful journey into Wellness Wednesday.

I began to ask him his favorite aspect of teaching here: “This is my second year teaching the outdoor Wednesday class, and I truly love it.” he started. “The community aspect, having everyone get together for an hour of relaxation and clearing of the mind – that is special. It’s awesome how people can bring their kids, families, dogs, whoever you want really, and still have a great time.”

Raji’s words resonated with me, as I realized that Yoga encourages a sense of diverse community, while congruently forming individuals into a stronger, more vibrant people. To still the mind and be able to simply let go – that is vital in order to maintain a healthy level of stability and security. This was not an environment ridden with intimidation, rather a place to feel empowered within our hearts and minds, at any age or strength. When I began to walk away from the class, I felt increasingly aware and connected to my body, while sensitive to all my surroundings as a feeling of relaxation and calmness washed over me. I highly recommend attending Yoga in the Park, for Wellness Wednesdays are now my favorite day of the week!

Half-star pose