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Also In This Issue:

Alumna Named Gates Scholar

Women's Colleges Promote Scientific Success in NY Times

Water Symposium Weekend Events

Take the Lead Program Seeks Nominations

Architecture of Silence Photo Exhibit Opens March 29

Romance Languages and Literatures Program Lecture

David Sedaris to Visit MHC

MHC Newsmakers

MHC Milestones


This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives
March 25, 2005


Filmmaker in Focus
Samba Gadjigo’s relationship with acclaimed African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène and his award-winning film Moolaadé was the subject of an article in the March 9 edition of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. In “Senegalese Filmmaker Enlists MHC Professor as Agent, Biographer,” staff writer Larry Parnass noted that Gadjigo is considered Sembène’s official biographer and is the only person who has been allowed to film Sembène at work. With Moolaadé, which deals with conflicting traditions in an African village, Gadjigo believes Sembène is poised for his greatest worldwide exposure as a filmmaker to date. “Helping the world understand the literature and film of Sembène is, Gadjigo says, his ‘lifetime project,’ ” Parnass wrote. “Though Moolaadé seems destined to reach American audiences, Sembène still struggles to reach Africans. Gadjigo notes that more American movies dubbed in French are shown in Africa than works by the continent's own filmmakers, including Sembène,” he wrote. “ ‘We don't control our distribution channels. It has not been shown in Senegal yet, where the producer is from,’ Gadjigo said of Moolaadé. Sembène's mission, Gadjigo said, is to make movies that can serve as a sort of ‘evening school’ for people unable to obtain education other ways. ‘Its intended rule is to educate, not just to entertain, following the Hollywood paradigm,’ he said of Sembène's work. ‘He came to cinema to bridge the gap between the African artist and the African audience.’ ” Gadjigo, whose documentary The Making of Moolaadé was recently released, has just finished the manuscript for a biography of Sembène.

Heroism’s Hues
The February 13 Chicago Tribune featured a book review by associate professor of English Elizabeth Young of a new social history of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History: Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War's Defining Battle is by Margaret S. Creighton of Bates College.
Here’s a passage from Young's review, which was headlined “Expanding History: An Intelligent, Provocative Book Offers a Different Perspective on the Battle of Gettysburg”:

"Creighton’s project is a new popular history of Gettysburg, ‘The Colors of Courage,’ and her emphasis, as her subtitle outlines, is on immigrants, women and blacks in the battle. Although this is a huge task, Creighton’s volume is half the size of the usual Gettysburg history. In 10 compact chapters she focuses on three groups: German-American soldiers in the Union Army’s Eleventh Corps, white women living in Gettysburg, and Gettysburg's African-American community. . . .

"So the approach is the close-up, but the goal is the big picture. Creighton wants to overturn ‘the compartmentalization of the past’ in the study of Gettysburg, whereby ‘here is the story of white fighting; over there is the story of Lincoln and “freedom”: and downtown, if you look hard enough, you can find some women.’ In the introduction she outlines the results of her approach: Her focus on immigrant soldiers highlights the Union Army as ‘a socially divided set of men beset by internal battles’; her focus on women makes the battlefield’s geography extend to ostensibly domestic, non-combat zones and lengthens the combat’s duration to include the postwar recovery period to which women workers were central; and her focus on African-Americans foregrounds the larger project of the struggle for black freedom.

"The results are exciting, intelligent and provocative. While preserving the specificity of military battle, Creighton also decisively erodes the line between homefront and battlefront for all three groups. The book wears its research, both primary and secondary, lightly, and its narrative is lively. Not surprisingly, given Creighton’s expertise in women's history, the chapter on white women's responses to Confederate invasion is written with particular drama.

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