- Jan 30 Opening conversation for "The Soul Selects her own Society: Women Artists from the Miller Meigs Collection"
- Feb 3 Taste of Service
- Feb 3 Macalester New Music Series presents INTERSECTION: Jazz Meets Classical Song
- Feb 4 'Moving Beyond Minnesota Nice:' Engaging Diversity in the Classroom
- Feb 12 Mitau Lecture
- Feb 17 Black History Month Keynote: Dr. Joy DeGruy - "Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome"
- Feb 18 Mental Health Awareness Film & Speaker
- Feb 19 The Inaugural Lecture of James Dawes as DeWitt Wallace Professor of English
- Feb 19 Robert Blanchette on "Tombs, sunken ships and historic huts: studying ancient wood reveals secrets from the past"
- Feb 19 Chamber Music at Macalester: Brahms Clarinet Quintet with Osmo Vanska
By James Mayer ’11
After Mac: Fulbright Fellowship in Turkey
In my Advanced Seminar on Conflict in the Middle East, students used video calling to discuss the political situation with people living it everyday. As a history and classics double major, I wrote an honors thesis about identity construction, exploring the connections between the past and the present. I’d spent considerable time in the Middle East, and studied in Istanbul. In many ways, Professor Andy Overman’s seminar was the culmination of my Mac experiences.
One component of the course was the academic discussion of recent developments in the Middle East, with an emphasis on historical and geographic connections. The groundbreaking events of the so-called “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere made for fantastic discussions.
For the second component, our class of 11 (plus Andy) met in a specially equipped room in Humanities where we used the video calling technology of Skype to dialogue with students at Tel Hai College in Kiryat Shemona, Israel. We discussed the Middle East conflict with people who experience it every day. We also “Skyped” with Wessam El-Meligi, a former visiting professor at Macalester, who now teaches at Alexandria University in Egypt. Not only did we get to hear about the Egyptian revolution firsthand from Wessam, we also observed the Tel Hai students interacting with Wessam—for many, the first Egyptian they had ever spoken to.
Interacting weekly with Middle Eastern students and professors, who were thinking about the same questions as we were, and being able to actually see our friends from Tel Hai and Alexandria, expanded my understanding of the complexities of the conflict in the Middle East. To consume the endless stream of media about the conflict in the Middle East is not enough; it is necessary to ask questions, to be questioned yourself, to hear different perspectives, and to see people who live in the midst of this conflict their whole lives.