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Rami Khouri Named First Global Studies Fellow-in-Residence

ISIS to Launch Online Registration

Plans for Tree Removal Explained

Harvard Medievalist to Deliver Dean Lecture

German Filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta to Visit MHC

Sailors Wanted for J-Term Course

Dance and Tradition

Light My Fire

MHC Newsmakers

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This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

November 5, 2004

MHC Newsmakers

Multiple Choice A Boston Globe article cited Mount Holyoke as one of a growing number of colleges that allow applicants for admission to identify themselves not by a single race or ethnicity, but by any combination they choose. “Spurred by changes in the way the U.S. Census handles people of multiple ethnic backgrounds, and lobbying by students from such backgrounds, the days of ‘check one box’ appear to be ending at many colleges,” Globe correspondent Scott Jaschik wrote in “On Ethnicity, Thinking out of the Box” in the October 10 edition. He cited Mount Holyoke as one college that no longer limits its students to a single choice, and quotes an MHC student: “‘If you are forced to pick a single category, it’s like saying that one of your parents doesn’t exist. It’s denying half of your self and that’s not right,’ said Jamie C. Monzo, a senior at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley whose father is Hispanic and whose mother is from a mix of Irish, Scottish, and French families … Monzo, who spent last summer doing research with a professor who studies biracial students, says her own college allowed her to check multiple boxes, but she was shocked and angry to find that many colleges still force students to pick a single category.”

Film Buff Samba Gadjigo, professor of French,
was interviewed on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program about Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène and his award-winning new film, Moolaadé. Gadjigo, Sembène’s biographer and translator, told Colorado Public Radio’s Howie Movshovitz that the conflict between men and women that plays out in Moolaadé parallels the struggle between the African continent and its European colonizers. “To colonize is not just to take land from people of darker complexion or flatter noses,” Gadjigo said. “It is also a contest about who has the right to represent whom; therefore, art, the teacher, cinema are all very, very important in the relationship between colonizer and the colonized.” Moolaadé, which won the Un Certain Regarde prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of four young girls in an African village who seek sanctuary to avoid circumcision, exploring the tension between those who want to maintain traditional practices and those who embrace Western ideas. Sembène visited the campus on October 17 to screen the film, and spoke before a standing-room-only crowd in Gamble Auditorium. The NPR story can be heard online at

School Spirits The eerie blue spotlight was on MHC for a segment of “Haunted Campuses,” a Travel Channel production that premiered on October 24. The MHC segment told several of the College’s many ghost stories, including the legend of a portrait that supposedly drove a student to madness and the infamous “ghost room” on the fourth floor of Wilder Hall. Several members of the Mount Holyoke community talked about the lore that has been handed down through the decades and about life at MHC today. Other schools included in the “Haunted Campuses” program were Notre Dame, Illinois State University, the Ringling School of Art and Design, and Keene State College. The program will be rebroadcast on December 18 at 9 pm and midnight. Don’t watch it alone!

Doing Excellency Professor of history Joseph Ellis’s new biography of George Washington, His Excellency George Washington, is garnering widespread notice in papers and other media outlets throughout the country. A prolific, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose past works have won acclaim, Ellis is now engaged in a whirlwind media and reading blitz that is bringing him to National Public Radio, Good Morning America, and many other television and radio shows. On Tuesday, October 26, Ellis’s “absorbing” book was reviewed by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times:

“Washington’s iconic status atop ‘the American version of Mount Olympus,’ combined with his aloof personality, poses a distinct problem for the biographer,” Kakutani noted. “He is ubiquitous, yet he is the most remote of the founding fathers: the face on Mount Rushmore, the dollar bill and the quarter; the omnipresent symbol of the nation’s birth; and the ultimate father figure for the country. It’s a forbidding role, as Mr. Ellis points out, that makes Washington susceptible to the most reflexive Freudian impulses on the part of historians: on one hand, a desire to place him on a patriarchal pedestal assembled from filial encomiums and dubious legends (i.e., the old cherry tree fallacy); on the other, an Oedipal urge to dismiss him as ‘the deadest, whitest male in American history.’

“As he did in his astute books on John Adams (Passionate Sage) and Thomas Jefferson (American Sphinx), Mr. Ellis gives us a succinct character study while drawing on his extensive knowledge of Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary history to strip away the accretions of myth and contemporary extemporizing that have grown up around his subject.

“Mr. Ellis refuses to judge Washington by ‘our own superior standards of political and racial justice’ but instead tries to show how Washington was seen in his day. In doing so he gives us a visceral understanding of the era in which the first president came of age, and he shows how Washington’s thinking (about the war for independence, the shape of the infant nation and the emerging role of the federal government) was shaped by his own experiences as a young soldier in the French and Indian War and as a member of the Virginia planter class. The resulting book yields an incisive portrait of the man, not the marble statue.”


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