Discussion held about gender and race

By Bonnie Monnier

The question of whether African-American girls are ever considered girls was discussed on campus on March 30.

A large group of students and faculty members attended the Writing Black Girlhood: How Race and Gender Inform Our Ideas About event in Whitaker sponsored by the department of history, African-American studies program and the women and gender studies program.

Marcia Chatelain, assistant professor of history at Georgetown University, discussed her book South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. Chatelain is a graduate from Brown University Department of American Studies, and has appeared on various television programs to discuss gender, race, history and current events.

Chatelain described her book in a brief overview, touching on her most prominent research. Her book is centered on African-American women and girls and the hardships they face due to gender, social class and racial constrictions.

Chatelain’s book explored the role African-American girls played in creating goals, strategies and motivation for black activism, mainly from the perspective of black girls growing up in south Chicago. Chatelain referred to these women and children as “black girls.”

She explored the history of black girls and how they represented a hopeful future. She found that adult characteristics are imprinted on black girls, so they are never really thought of as girls.

Chatelain stressed the importance of children to society. She said shebelieves that they are impressionable to our society. “When we challenge ourselves to think of the lives of young people, we learn so much,”she said.

Chatelain pointed out how black girls “shaped a lot of the debates we still have today.” She referenced current situations of discrimination and stereotypes that black girls similarly faced during the migration from the South to the North.

As she began her research for her book she realized “people were more concerned about the image of girls, rather than the girl.” Chatelain explored the reasons why what the girls did was more important than their actual experiences and feelings.

She completed extensive research through online databases, library records and history records. Most of her book was created in reference to interviews conducted during and after the migration in the early 20th century.

Chatelain posed the question, “What makes it so hard for some people to see a girl, a black girl, as a girl and not a woman?” This led her to discuss the implications of girlhood, and how black girls missed out on it.

In the past, black girls from the age of 9 were the sole caretakers of children and worked laborious jobs. Moving to the Northgranted them more opportunity of childhood, with the option of school and extra-curricular activities.

At the end of the talk the room was open for discussion. Students and staff members asked various questions on the complex topic at hand.

Student, Helena Hammond-DoDoo, said the talk was interesting and believed it brought up great points. But she was not surprised by any of the issues discussed. “These are things I think about all the time,” she said. “It’s a reality.”

Alex Smith, sophomore, said, “This event is a great chance to become active in issues and activities that not necessarily pertain to your major.” Smith added, “The issues that she mentioned are eye opening, and really get you to think about what has changed and what hasn’t.”

History professor gives talk about women in India

By Phil McCarty

In celebrating of women’s history month, Dr. Purnima Bhatt, a professor of history, anthropology and interdisciplinary studies at Hood College spoke on the stepwells, gathering places for women in India, at Her Space, Her Story on March 18.

The stepwells of Gujarat, India, have been a meeting place for women since the 7th century and show the relationship between women, water, architecture, and religion.

Until the British came and shut them down, the wells numbered in the thousands. They are 60 to 100 ft. holes with steps leading down to the bottom of the well from the town above. Even today women get water from wells.

The lecture focused on the women and the stepwells. Bhatt said that there is a “compelling urgency to correct the historical record and to make the invisible women heard.” She also said that women are often seen as silent spectators on the stage of history.

A large turnout of about 45 students and faculty attended the talk, which was part of the lecture series in honor of women’s history month which is themed, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.”

Bhatt supplemented the talk with a slideshow of the stepwells and their architectural features, especially their portrayals of women. Mary Horabik, a Hood student, said, “I really want to look at the wells now and I want to read the book.”

Another Hood student, Victoria Wright said, “My interest is sparked to learn more about the stepwells. The pictures were amazing and helped me to see the wells in a way she couldn’t describe in words.”

Bhatt, who is retiring at the end of the year, has been a teacher at Hood College for 38 years and introduced many different courses throughout her career. Her Space, Her Story is her fourth book. The book took 10 years of research to complete. She spent time in the Library of Congress and four months out of the year in India researching the book.

Due to time constraints Dr. Bhatt was unable to get to everything that she wanted to in the lecture.

In interview she said that she wanted to emphasize the fact that the stepwells today have become shrines for the worship of local goddesses and are places where women go to talk, gossip and share their feelings, which represent a form of women’s solidarity.

“I wanted students to realize that learning and research can be absolute fun,” she said.

The talk was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs & International Student Programs, Humanities Council, Department of Sociology & Social Work, and Global Studies Program of Hood College.

Describing the stepwells, Bhatt said, “Voices still echo in the dilapidated and crumbling structures.”

Smithsonian educator gives talk about African ceramics

By Elizabeth Shearin

Africa has historically suffered economic underdevelopment, but has never been artistically underdeveloped, an educator from the Smithsonian said at Hood College on Sunday.

Pottery makes up a significant portion of the African art tradition, Veronika Jenke told an audience of 16 who had gathered to hear Jenke’s lecture on African Ceramics. Jenke said the diversity of the continent, which has 54 countries and hundreds of languages, means there is much diversity in the pottery.

“There is no single practice in Africa,” Jenke said, “You can build in a much freer way.” She said the pottery traditions in Africa usually took place in the dry season because potters were typically also farmers.

Jenke’s lecture was part of the Art 543 graduate class, History of Ceramic Arts. Currently there are 11 students enrolled in the course, Traci Holland, the associate registrar of Graduate Studies, said.

Jenke said that in the 1980s there was a widespread industry of faking African ceramics, particularly in the area of Nok sculptures. The Nok culture was based in Nigeria from approximately 500-200 B.C. until the entire culture suddenly vanished, Jenke said.

Interest in the ceramic vessels, or pots, of another Nigerian culture, the Igbo-Ukwu was also widespread, Jenke told the audience. One particular Igbo-Ukwu vessel that was excavated in the 1960s at a site found accidentally by farmers. The vessel was intended for an exhibition show but was stolen before the exhibition and was later recovered in Brussels.

The ceramics of ancient African cultures remain relevant through their influence on contemporary ceramics, “The decoration is still being done on contemporary shrine pots,” Jenke said. The vessel would originally have been intended for a “very ritualized society with leadership roles” that needed an object for ritual purposes, she said.

Ritual pots were not uncommon and were often used for “spirit-regarding” in sacred rites or for “human-regarding” in a functional setting, Jenke said. Many of the pots, including the Igbo-Ukwu vessel are large in size, “The volume of some of these vessels is astonishing,” Jenke said.

Jenke described how some of the pieces were thought, by the British, to have been done by someone other than the Africans. “I was intrigued to find that they didn’t want to believe that Africans were capable of making such art,” Wendy Varron, who traveled from Washington County out of curiosity about ceramics.

Varron said she was interested in the discovery of the attitude of some of the Europeans who collected and displayed the African ceramic pieces.

Varron’s interest in ceramics started when she attended a ceramics class with her mother, “I remember going with her once and seeing some of the molds they used and where they fire them,” she said.

Collections of African art are reflective of the principles of the collector as much as they are reflective of the principles of the works collected, Jenke said. She also noted that when the National Museum of African Art first began, the collection was not inclusive of all African art.

Varron said she thought it was interesting that the museum had selected art from only a certain region, “They were only collecting pieces from Sub-Saharan Africa,” she recalled from the lecture.

“Pottery exhibitions are somewhat rare,” Jenke said. “A scattered enterprise.”

Biographer speaks about Jack Johnson

By Becca DeLauter

Boxer Jack Johnson not only fought in the ring, but also fought for racial justice, according to his biographer.

The biographer, Theresa Runstedtler, an associate professor of history at American University, spoke to a group of about 30 students as well as a few Hood faculty members March 19 about former world heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, and the controversial nature by which he fought white supremacy in the early 20th century. Her lecture was based on her biography, “Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line.”

Runstedtler began the lecture by comparing Jack Johnson with Muhammad Ali, who called Johnson “Papa Jack” and modeled himself after Johnson’s “unapologetic image.” She said that Johnson was a global symbol of black resistance, but was also criticized for marrying white women and displaying his wealth and class status.

“People see him as a flamboyant prize fighter with no consciousness,” she said, “But he was someone who was just the epitome of strength.”

Rather than focus on how many fights he won, Runstedtler said she chose to focus on his legacy. She mostly described his actions in pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable at the time, and the fact that Johnson fought against white supremacy and stereotypical “black” notions.

“I had a hunch that if I looked at the local newspapers, I would find a much more complicated story—not that he just travelled and had fights,” she said.

Runstedler used examples of political cartoons to back up her belief that Johnson had an openly political agenda. She wanted to convey that the way he was illustrated in the cartoons—drawn by white supremacists—proved that he was not just an athlete, but he was also an activist.

The event coordinator, Jay Driskell, a professor of history at Hood, provided a mixed view of Johnson as he commented on his controversial nature.

“The ability to face limited career options, low wages, and race—to be able to withstand that—is very admirable,” Driskell said, “But his victories were very individual. In a situation like that, you have to collectively take an entire group of people and have them triumph together.”

Yet students attending the lecture thought Johnson’s efforts were positive stamps on African-American history.

Jasmine Smith, a senior, said she enjoyed the lecture. “It’s not something you hear about—an African-American being a sports hero that early in history,” she said.

And Victoria Wright, a junior, had a passionate response to the topic of this lecture.

“It’s important to get as much African-American history out there as you can because it’s neglected in schools,” she said. “I feel like it’s my duty to keep that part of history that’s neglected alive.”

Runstetdler called what Driskell referred to as a “very profound self-confidence.”; an “unapologetic swagger,” and she felt as though the character he created played into his fight against white supremacy.

She said: “How could he not know it was political? He reads his own hype in the sense that he knows exactly what he’s doing. I don’t know how he couldn’t see it.”

In her final thoughts she summarized her lecture looking at the bigger picture.

She said, “Although he was a star athlete, the bigger scope was his fight against the color-line.”

Archaeologist gives talk

By Gabrielle Cavalier

The Ceramic Arts Program welcomed archaeologist, anthropologist and museum curator Miriam Doutriaux from Johns Hopkins University to speak on the ancient pottery in the Mayan, Moche and Inca cultures.

Doutriaux presented a two-hour lecture about classic pots from as early as 250 BC and to 1800 and how they signified each culture while also differentiating from one another.

The Mayan culture had descriptive illustrations on their pots that would depict their culture, such as their political system, religion, rituals, etc. Dr. Doutriaux said, “The artists were the most educated people in the Mayan society,” she said. “They needed to know about Mayan history, ideology and literacy in order to create the pots. They had very high status.”

When asked about the lecture in general, Laila Nielsen, a freshman, mentioned that her favorite culture was the Mayans. “I loved how the Mayans drew stories, not just wrote them,” she said. “The fact that they drew it on pots makes it more special and creative.”

The Moche culture was much different, she said. They documented their culture through their most important events, which mostly consisted of war and sexual activities. With that being said, most of the pots had graphic descriptions. Dr. Doutriaux noted that there are “approximately 500 ceramic pieces that relate to sex in some way.”

The last culture talked about in the lecture was the Inca’s. Their ceramic pieces primarily incorporated geometric shapes and different kinds of animals like llamas, jaguars, birds and even humans. High-class citizens or people of power such as priests, lords and emperors often used the pots. The ceramics were also given as attributes.

Dr. Doutriaux also pointed out that every single piece of work was fired in a natural fire pit instead of a classic kiln that is commonly used in today’s world. “Each culture used the earth to perfect their masterpiece, it is amazing that they are in such good condition today,” she said.

Janny Kim, a senior and ceramics student, thought the lecture was interesting and informative. “I really liked how the Mayan culture told stories through their art,” and added, “I also thought it was interesting how the Moche civilization had so much sexual work. I wanted to laugh but didn’t want to seem immature because I was one of the youngest students there.”

About 14 people attended the lecture.

Students attend Margaret Hood Masquerade Ball

By Maya Douglas

The Margaret Hood Masquerade Ball, held on Saturday, March 20 in the BB&T Arena, became a collaborative effort between organizations due to a small 2018 class council.

The Margaret Hood Ball, an annual tradition, is usually the responsibility of the first year board and a Campus Activities Board chair.

The semi-formal dance is a farewell to seniors and a welcome into the Hood legacy for freshmen, according to Annie Mercer, Campus Activities Board chair.

“We wanted to keep it as traditional as possible since it was about the seniors,” said Jocelyn Cox, the class of 2018 president.

This year’s planning process was more difficult due to a low 2018 class committee according to Mercer. The 2018 class council was unusually small because of low numbers of participation during the election that occurred earlier this year. The Student Government Association offered assistance to Cox in order to make up for the lack of volunteers.

“It would’ve been cool to have freshmen involved more,” Cox said.

Mercer suggests that next year the other class councils step in instead of the SGA.

Whitney Onheiser, the 2018 vice president, said she would offer her help to the next year’s freshmen class she said.

“Make sure you have a strong class council,” said Onheiser as her suggestion to the future class council of 2019.

Despite the difficulties “the process went fairly smoothly,” Mercer said.

Onheiser attributes the success of the dance to thorough planning.

Cox and Onheiser were involved until the very last minute of the dance, even to the creation of the masquerade masks and table centerpieces.

Light schemes, decorations and contacting the D.J. were all very big parts of creating the dance.

An email sent out earlier in the week asked students to send in song requests for the D.J.

“One thing the class of 2018 was really excited about was sideline entertainment,” said Mercer.

A photo booth with the school mascot, Blaze, was advertised but was unable to be accomplished due to student worker scheduling conflicts.

“I think it went really well, there were no dance offs we had to stop.” Mercer said.

Despite the stress of the process, it paid off according to Cox.

“It felt good to see people come and actually stay all night,” she said.

The dance started at 10 p.m. and yielded a larger crowd at the starting time rather than the usual majority arriving at 11 p.m.

Those who came early were first to grab the chocolate covered strawberries provided by catering.

There were also mocktails and light refreshments served.

“I went because my friends were going,” said Catherine Johnson, freshman.

For next year Johnson suggests a smaller dance space, “so it looks like more people are there.”

Safety was maintained by requiring students to register guests and campus safety were on call for any suspicious activity.

The dance is named in the legacy of Margaret Hood, one of the biggest benefactors of Hood College whom college is named after.

Weather delays golf

By Noah Lipman

Poor weather conditions delayed the start of the spring season for the Hood College golf team, but the team began play on Monday.

After some promising performances in the fall portion of their schedule, Blazers team members said they are excited for the upcoming events.

The team was scheduled to begin the second half of its season on March 18 at the York College Invitational, but the event was cancelled due to weather. The Blazers participated in their first event of the year on Monday in the SU Spring Invitational.

The Blazers finished third out of seven teams in the event, which is better than any of their finishes in the fall season. Freshman Andy Baker finished highest among Hood’s players, finishing fifth out of 34 participants.

Baker is not the only freshman who is expected to play a large role on this year’s young squad.

This year’s Blazers team is made up of five freshman and just three upperclassmen. However, the coaches and players said they are confident in their abilities, and believe the team will only get better.

Freshman Zach Scheuerman, who is also a captain on Hood’s first baseball team, said he understands the struggles that come with being a young team. “I like our depth and future. The team is definitely on the rise and has guys who can seriously play six or seven deep on this team. A lot of the talent is young and should be getting better for the next 3 years,” he said.

Scheuerman and his teammates are not using their lack of experience as an excuse. They have high goals set for their upcoming events and expect to be successful this season.

“I expect us to finish in the top three a few times this year and a few individuals to win outright,” Scheuerman said.

While these may seem like lofty expectations for a team that finished towards the bottom of most events in the fall, Scheuerman is not the only one who believes in this team.

Coach Chad Dickman joked about the team’s role as a “bottom-dweller” in the MAC conference the last few years, but said he’s excited about the team’s potential. “Our goal this season is to finish in the top half of all the matches that we play in,” Dickman said.

Dickman said he doesn’t see the age of the Blazers team as a negative and is excited about the amount of young talent on the team. “Our older guys have done a great job in welcoming the new guys and accepting them into the program,” he said. “They’ve been like big brothers, offering them advice here and there, and that’s really helped out.”

The Blazers’ second-year coach also said he believes that the addition of the team’s new assistant coach, Ethan Lester, will help the team tremendously. Lester is the coach at Middletown High School and general manager of the Maryland National Golf Club.

Coach Lester has helped the team gain access to new facilities and resources. Dickman says, “Ethan is also a really good teacher of the game and has already helped a few of our guys alter their swing with positive results.”

Dickman and his young Blazers squad said they are ready to continue their success on April 6 at the Stevenson Spring Invitational.

Three seniors showcase their art

By Chris Hamby

Students, instructors and lovers of art gathered on the evening of March 19 to see the latest works of art from Hood College seniors.

The Senior Art Exhibition was held at the Whitaker Commons Gallery, located inside the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood.

A crowd packed the exhibition and surrounded the entire space of the commons gallery.

The art showcase featured pieces of artwork ranging from original photographs, ceramic pottery, paintings and drawings.

The selections represented in the exhibition were the works of Hood senior students Janet Greer, Maeve Goldstein and Brigid Ayer.

Janet Greer’s ceramic pottery works were showcased in the gallery under the title of “Nascent—to be born.”

A member of the Potters Guild of Frederick and serving as the ceramic arts studio technician at Hood, Greer’s ceramic art platters represent parks throughout the United States.

The ceramic designs were inspired by Greer’s past visits to twelve National Parks in the United States, including Olympic National Park in the state of Washington and Glacier National Park in Montana.

“These ceramic platters represent in their designs, colors and clay bodies some of the most beautiful areas in our country,” Greer said. “I pondered what decorative techniques and processes would best represent that park and their memories.”

Several different clay bodies and firing methods were crucial factors for Greer’s original ceramic works.

The different techniques in Greer’s works represented the geology of the National Parks for each platter, she said.

Maeve Goldstein’s mixed media paintings and handmade illustrated books were on display during the exhibition, titled “Take Notice, Take Care.”

A native of Baltimore, Goldstein had previous experience as a gallery assistant at Hood, and is currently concentrating in the fields of printmaking and painting.

Goldstein said her works were inspired by interactions between the forms of texture, color and energy, within the subject of flowers and birds connected with her dreams and memories. Nature field guides and Audubon drawings also served as inspirations for her works of flowers, plants and birds.

“The natural world is more than just a serene experience,” Goldstein said. “It’s a nostalgic treasure of old where I can be released from the exhausting expectations of life.”

She has practiced the art of various techniques for her pieces, including the techniques of bookbinding, embroidery and paper crafting.

Brigid Ayer’s works in the show are photographic works, titled “Dedication, Determination, and Drive.”

Ayer’s past photographic works were featured in the “Capture Outdoors Maryland” calendar for Maryland Public Television.

Her photographs for the show are creative portraits of Hood College athletes, in relation to the athletes’ success and determination on the field.

These photographic works include student athletes in field hockey, swimming, soccer, track and field and lacrosse.

Tim Jacobsen, Hood adjunct instructor and multimedia journalist, reflected on what brings out the best of the senior artists and their works in the show.

“It really shows the individuality of each student,” Jacobsen said. “They have a great skillset for communicating visually.”

There will be additional Hood senior art show exhibitions in the coming months.

Another year, another room selection

By Cameron Rogers

The housing and room selection process for the fall 2015 semester finished in the last week of March, but not without complications.

On the surface, the room selection process seemed simple and straightforward. Students sat down in Whitaker Commons, which had been rearranged into a DMV-like setup, complete with a lottery system for selection order. In most cases, few students were present during each 20 minute segment.

When students were called up by number, they headed to tables with maps of a specific dormitory, with student ID’s listed on any occupied rooms. Representatives from the dorms then asked students which one of the remaining rooms they would like to stay in.

As with any situation involving the signing of safety waivers, minor complications can make or break one’s chances of getting their dream room assignments. Minute details, from holds on a person’s financial accounts to signing the rooming contract in pencil, have the potential to invalidate written signatures.

From the announcements of lottery numbers in early March to the final frantic days before the selection began, the scene had been set for suspenseful moments of awaiting the next number to be called. What actually happened on those three nights was far from that idea.

The mood of the selection process for the class of 2017 was that of indifference. Even at the following night, when the freshmen had their room selection lottery, no hints of enthusiasm or interest occurred as students were called up in pairs.

“I think it’s alright,” Austin Hagerperry, a member of the class of 2017, said about the room selection process. “There’s no real ‘good’ way to do this.”

Katie Stout, another sophomore, had similar views on the process. “I think it’s good,” she said, “but it’s kind of complicated.”

In contrast to the lifeless atmosphere and dread surrounding most students during this time, the Resident Assistants (RA’s) and Area Coordinators (AC’s) maintained a positive outlook on the event.

“I personally find it exciting when it comes to room selection,” Ray Rivera, an RA and a senior at Hood, said about it. “There are so many possibilities as to where you could live.”

According to him, a fair amount about housing and room selection has changed in the past few years. Mandy Taylor is now the interim director of Residence Life and the location has changed from Hodson Auditorium to Whitaker Commons.

When asked about what concerns students most about the process, Rivera said, “I think something that bothers students is the random lottery system.” He went on to mention other colleges that award rooms based on G.P.A. and merit, not by luck.

A primary source of confusion among students for room selection were the initial emails and the lottery system. The lack of information about the number system, along with the occasionally-vague wording of the announcement emails, created a scenario that required additional clarification from Residence Life.

A student from the class of 2018 who wished to remain anonymous admitted that the instructions seemed unclear. “I find it a little confusing,” the student said, “but it is my first year. I had to ask the right questions.”

The student said that if the system were to be improved there would have to be clearer instructions on how you choose who you room with. “Biggest confusion is on the number selection,” the student said.

In contrast to the mixed reactions from students, the RA’s and AC’s were confident that the process would work out and that most participants would come out satisfied.

Pianist performs at Hood

By Alex Peters

Prize winning pianist Viktor Valkov performed in Brodbeck Music Hall on March 24 at the annual Homer Carhart Guest Pianist Recital. Valkov was generous enough to play the free concert for the Hood College community.

He is the winner of the 2012 New Orleans International Piano Competition. Valkov has also been praised for being highly acclaimed by critics as “Lion of the Keyboard,” and “sensational.” Valkov has played a number of recitals in the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

The performance lasted about one hour and 45 minutes. The audience applauded louder each time Valkov finished one of the seven pieces of music he performed that night

Valkov started off with Sonata in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This piece set the tone for the performance, which was comprised entirely of classical pieces each from a different composer.

“ViKtor Valkov was remarkable,” said Fitzgerald. “I became in awe of the way he could put so much emotion behind simply playing the piano. Every motion he had was made for a purpose.”

In the audience there were about 80 to 100 people. There were family members of Dr. Carhat, families enjoying the concert, and Hood students, faculty and staff.

The one thing that was different about Valkov than other performers was his posture. This goes into the emotion he played with. But his posture was never still; he was always moving which made the performance different.

“Viktor Valkov is a prize winning pianist,” Lester said. “He is an excellent performer to showcase the 15th annual Homer Carhart Guest Pianist Recital.”

Valkov did not say anything about the pieces of music he chose to perform. Each piece of music he performed were at least 50 years old, with the oldest piece being from the 1600s.

“I felt as if the room was too small,” Gall said “since he was playing pieces of such magnitude the room should have been bigger in my opinion.”

The Homer Carhart Piano Recitals at Hood College are made possible through a generous gift from the late Dr. Homer Carhart, a longtime friend of Hood College.

Upcoming concerts include Hood College Choir in Concert, featuring Mozart’s “Requiem,” which takes place on Sunday, April 12 at 3 p.m. in Brodbeck Music Hall, as well as the String and Wind Ensembles Spring Concert on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Coffman Chapel.