Logical contradictions

Melissa A. Danz ’17

Melissa A. Danz ’17

Academic focus: philosophy and religion double major

Advanced degree: pursuing a master’s in social work, with a focus on crisis and trauma

Philosophy has been a useful major as I navigate a world of “and, also” in Tel Aviv and Israel proper (within the 1967 borders that do not include the West Bank and Gaza). By this, I mean that I am forced to hold many conflicting and sometimes contradictory viewpoints in my head at once and reconcile these viewpoints in an effort toward justice.

For the past year, since my graduation from Mount Holyoke in 2017, I have been working with three different populations of disenfranchised peoples in Israel: female and trans survivors of human trafficking and prostitution; Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers denied asylum and other basic rights; and marginalized Palestinian and Jewish youth, primarily of Ethiopian and Mizrahi background.

Studying philosophy at Mount Holyoke has given me the critical thinking skills to view issues from multiple perspectives, to forgo judgments on different angles and to use these contradictions to examine how I, as an individual, can work toward justice for all, when the needs of a country are complex.