Tag Archives: history

Short Term is here!

Hey all. It’s that time of year again… Short Term! 

After completing my thesis, I still had three papers to work on before I could head home for spring break. The first was for my Latin American history class. The course focused specifically on Latin American independence, and in the final paper we were asked to discuss whether independence brought about significant change to Latin America, or whether there was a more gradual shift from colonial rule to national sovereignty. I concluded that when we talk about change we have to talk about what type of change and for whom. Things changed really differently for the indigenous population in comparison with the elite Creole population, so I tried to center my arguments on the nuanced evolution of change in Latin America during the independence period.

Okay, I just read that back and it sounds a little boring. I swear it’s a readable paper and makes sense. As a history nerd, I think I have a tendency to delve a bit too deeply into a paper like this. If you’re still with me, I promise to keep the other paper descriptions short!

 For my Spanish final paper, I wrote a comparative essay on two short stories that we read in class. Because the course emphasized race, afro-spirituality and Catholicism in the Caribbean, I decided to write my paper on the construction and development of character identity in these stories and on how those characters represented the larger picture of the development of national identity in the Caribbean (in Cuba, specifically).

I also focused on identity in my final English paper. In this assignment, I looked to two short stories by Sherman Alexie and Junot Díaz to compare how identity was formed, molded and manipulated through narrative voice.

Anyway, you probably didn’t need to hear the long rambling descriptive explanations of my final papers, but I hope it interested some of you. As you can see from the varying topics I wrote about, each Bates class provides you with an opportunity to focus in on and tackle some really cool, unique and interesting material. 

Anyway, after finishing up the papers, I headed down to Florida for a fun week in the sun with some friends and in just a few short days, Short Term begins. I am taking a class titled “Gender and Tobacco.” I’ll have more information as soon as I take my first class. It’s a Women and Gender Studies (WGS) course and I’m really looking forward to it!

Until next time… 

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The full Bates experience…

Hey all. School has been as busy as ever but I’ve been enjoying myself. There have been more papers for my ‘Age of Independence’ Latin American history class as well as for my ‘Fiction in the U.S.’ English class. My thesis on race relations and social hierarchy in colonial New York City continues to move along (slowly but surely) and my Spanish class, though a lot of work, has been a true learning experience as of late. The class focuses on the formation of national identity in the Caribbean, specifically in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Using poems, novels and other pieces of literature as lenses, we examine how race, catholicism and african spirituality affect the national discourse in each nation we study. The class has been a lot of work – papers, tests, oral presentations, preparations for a final project – but the material typically keeps me engaged enough to distract me from the difficulty of the work… it’s an ideal college class – both challenging and thought-provoking.

In between classes and work, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to the job search, which, unlike the hunt for the perfect college, is a lot more open-ended and intimidating. I’m looking at it as another new experience and embracing it, which has made the search more fun than stressful. There’s also been time for IM Ice hockey. The team I play on won the IM Championship last week, capping off a successful run of two championships in three years. Bragging rights are the ultimate prize, but the free t-shirt all champions receive is a nice perk.

Working on the school newspaper, relaxing at my yoga class and taking the occasional trip off campus for a meal away from commons take up the rest of my time during the week. As I write this, in fact, it’s approaching 2 a.m. and I am in the newsroom finishing up the sports section for tomorrow’s issue. Time to get back to work! Until next time…

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Academic Life at Bates…

Hey all. As I write this, I’m sitting on my couch under a blanket in my pajamas. It’s February break and I’m back in New York relaxing, enjoying my mom’s home cooking and catching up on some much needed rest. Sweatpants, slippers and sweatshirts have been the clothing of choice for the past few days: I call it the “SSS” collection, perfect for when you want to be as comfortable as possible. Still, while I eat homestyle food and ponder trademarking an “SSS” clothing line from the comforts of my couch, I have to focus on a lot of academic work.

Due the first monday of break was the second chapter of my senior thesis. It was only a draft, but completing it meant countless hours of researching, note-taking, working on proper citations and of course, writing. I spent much of the first weekend of break writing up chapter two while doing some extensive editing. I love the topic for my thesis. I’m focusing on race and class relations in colonial New York City through the lens of a slave uprising known as the New York Conspiracy of 1741. It’s essentially an in-depth research paper, which will ultimately be about 50 pages or perhaps even more. It’s a daunting project to work on in just one semester, but taking it little-by-little makes the process easier. I try not to get too stressed about it because, well, how many times in your life to you get the chance to complete a comprehensive study on a topic of your choosing?

Stack of thesis books:


In addition to thesis, I have several papers due the week I get back. For my Age of Independence in Latin America class I need to write a paper about the second set of wars for independence in Latin America. Between 1808-1826, most of Latin America became independent, one way or another, from Spain. My paper is focusing on some of the factors (both external and internal) that led to the creation of new nations as well as on the ideological differences between the wars for independence and the earlier set of revolts, rebellions and uprisings that didn’t ultimately lead to independence. As a history nerd, I’m enjoying writing this paper.

For my English class, Fiction in the U.S., I have to find a peer-review critical essay that focuses on a piece of literature (novel or short story) that we’ve read in class. In a short paper, I need to summarize the essay, while also using my knowledge of the material to critically analyze the peer-reviewed work. This paper isn’t due for a week, but I think I am going to focus on James Baldwin’s, “Sonny’s Blues.” It’s a fantastic short story. Read “Sonny’s Blues” here if you’re interested in checking it out.

For my Spanish class, Spanish Caribbean Literature, I am writing a paper based on a documentary on Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. In the paper, I’m analyzing how the documentary presents Castro as an individual hero of the public. Castro is a deeply complicated man, both intelligent and ruthless. I’m excited to be writing about this topic, though the fact that it has to be written entirely in Spanish does make it extra time-consuming.

On top of this academic work, I’m in the midst of an intense job search. I’m casting a wide net and keeping my options open. I was accepted to interviews for two separate jobs yesterday. This is exciting, but it also requires a lot more preparation as well as logistical planning (both positions require extensive traveling). In the meantime, I’m continuing to look for more positions!

So, while I continue to sport the “SSS” collection, there is plenty to do. Until next time, it’s back to work!

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Senior Year Begins…

Hey all. Settling in to senior year has been a bit more hectic than expected but here is the long-overdue update…

I’m enrolled in four courses: Nations and Nationalism, International Politics, Technology in U.S. History, and a Spanish class on Cervantes. I’m taking the two politics courses more out of interest than necessity. I’ve fulfilled the majority of my requirements for my major and minor, and decided to take advantage of the chance to learn more about politics; a subject that’s always appealed to me, but that I’ve never been able to study extensively.

My favorite class so far has been Technology in U.S. History. It is an interdisciplinary course cross-listed with history and women and gender studies. So far we’ve focused on the the history of the word ‘technology’ and its early association with the Industrial Revolution. We’ve also discussed the differences between social construction and technological determinism, looking at how humans shape technology and how technology shapes society. Focusing on the role of gender in technological advancement has made the class even more thought-provoking.

Outside of academics, there has been plenty keeping me busy. Intramural soccer, working on the first issue of the Bates Student (including recruiting new writers), attending the Activities Fair, the Volunteer Fair, and the first weekly Village Club Series (VCS) free concert (Nick Motil) of the semester.

Life’s been busy, but it’s great to be back on campus. More to come soon! Until next time…

I couldn’t find a video of Nick Motil performing at Bates, but here is one from a recording a few years ago:

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Full October…

Hey all. October is here and that means fall is now in full foliage, it is the first full month of classes, the school year’s activities are now in full swing, and my schedule is now… full.

The workload has definitely increased this month. Just this week, I gave a Spanish presentation on Fronteras Compasivias (Humane Borders), a humanitarian organization that provides aid to immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexican border, had a African geography quiz for my history seminar course, and took a biology test for my Emerging and Re-Emerging infections across the Globe class. I have to finish two books and read some journal articles for my three classes tomorrow… oh, yes, serious work is definitely here.

In other eventful news, Liz Neumark, a blogger for The Huffington Post and a parent of a freshman at Bates, recently blogged about her experience at Parent’s and Family Weekend at Bates. She lauds the Bates Dining Service and is impressed with the school in general. Check out the Huffington Post blog here. Clearly, she is a proud parent. 

Speaking of the Dining Service at Bates, it recently received a national award given by University Business Magaizine. Bates was named one of the ‘Dining Halls of Distinction’ along with three other colleges/universities in the United States. Read about the Bates Dining achievement here.

A busy weekend at Bates kicks off Friday with two movies, a concert, and a dance. Check out Bates’ event schedule here

And one more Bates link… October pictures of the Bates campus.

I will be adding some Bates fall photos of my own soon so be on the lookout… I am off to go do some more work… until next time…

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Back to Bates!

Hey all. Summer has come to it’s end and I am quiet excited to embark on another sure to be excellent year at Bates. I will be driving up on Sunday and will then prepare for classes beginning on Wednesday. It will be nice to have 2 full days to get settled in my new room and then organize and ready myself for the first day of classes. Call me nerdy or old-fashioned, but I am always pumped for the first day of school.

There is certainly a lot to look forward to this year. I am now an upperclassman. Gulp. Not sure where the last two years went… I guess time flies when you are having fun. I will only be on campus for the first semester since I am going abroad in the winter/early spring semester. I suppose that means this year is going to go by even quicker than the last two but I am beyond excited for studying abroad. More details on that as plans get finalized and settled in the near future. 

As for classes this semester, I’m taking courses in Spanish, history, and biology. Specifically, I am signed up for ‘Britain in the Twentieth Century’, a 200-level history class that seems fairly self-explanatory. Sticking with history, I am taking ‘African Slavery in the Americas’, a 390-level history course that I think will be extremely interesting and is taught by one of my favorite professors. My Spanish course is called ‘Gendered Experiences in America’s Borderlands’. This is a 300-level course that will hopefully greatly improve my Spanish speaking abilities. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to learn but that just makes it all the more exciting. My final class is an introductory biology course titled ‘Emerging and Reemerging Infections Across the Globe’ which seems timely to me. I wonder if we will talk about H1N1? 

The next week promises to be action-packed and a bit stressful but I am ready to take it on. Junior year here I come! I am going to finish packing now…Until next time… 

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