CAPA, Institutional News

Bennington Students and Faculty Spotlighted in EuropeNow Journal

EuropeNow Journal's October 2020 issue highlights the work that Bennington College students and faculty have done in partnership with the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education.

Image of Bennington College campus

"Collectively, the contributions highlight some of the many ways that the topic of migration and displacement is approached at Bennington College," writes faculty member John Hultgren. "They have in common an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, a creative reimagination of the traditional liberal arts classroom, and an encouragement of deep reflection leading to action in the world.

Interdisciplinary Perspective on Landmines

In “Landmine Clearance, Displacement, and Interdisciplinarity,” Anthropology faculty member Noah Coburn and his students write about their attempts to approach landmines from an interdisciplinary perspective to uncover their connections to empire and displacement and to understand their political and social significance. This work began in a Bennington classroom, but Coburn and his students, Sitashma Parajuli '21 and Elbunit Kqiku '21, then undertook ethnographic research in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kosovo.

COVID-19 Impact on Immigration Politics

Democracy’s Others” details the early results of a student research project that began during Summer 2020, cataloguing in real-time how the pandemic is impacting immigration politics in different areas of the world. The contributions by Soumya Shailendra '21, Sitashma Parajuli '21, and Ioanna Katsara '20 all highlight the ways in which the very real public health crisis of COVID-19 has been weaponized against migrant communities in three distinct sites of research: India, Nepal, and Greece.

The Complexities of Translation

In “Discovering (M)othertongues,” students Valeria Sibrian '21 and Sarah Lore '23 explore the making of a student-run publication focused on the complexities of translation. Weaving their unique experiences and stories into a collective examination of the hybridity that colors the contemporary, the student journal interrogates what is means to be from a place but of this world.

Spotlight on Syllabi

This campus spotlight also features two syllabi from courses taught over the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 academic year.

Emily Mitchell-Eaton’s “Dying in Diaspora” took up topics that are all too-timely, uncomfortable to consider, full of ethical minefields, but nonetheless integral to our lives and absent from most of our discussions: grief, mourning, and death. With great care and reflexivity, Mitchell-Eaton prompts students to ask, with Judith Butler, “when is life grievable?” More broadly, how do power and politics intervene in these most intimate areas of life, particularly for displaced populations?

Joseph Alpar and Kerry Ryer-Parke’s course “Sounding Home” brought together the instructors’ respective expertise in ethnomusicology and peacebuilding to explore the relationship between music and migration. Originally designed as a partnership with an Albany-based refugee-support organization, the instructors adapted to the constraints of COVID-19 by building in a virtual speaker series and student playlists. Works by Jann Moreno '21, Tyrone Bass '22, Suzie Rejali '21, Noah Bleakley '23, and Lucy Swenson '20 are featured alongside the syllabus.