In some cases when a professor asks me to write a reflection on a class I panic, how on earth will I ever write enough?  The class wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it just was.  When you asked us to reflect on this class I also panicked, except for completely opposite reasons.  How could I reflect on this class in a concise meaningful way?  This class was the best.

For four months this class has taught and challenged and made me think more than any class I’ve ever taken.  I feel like this class could be cross listed for so many different subjects and that is perhaps one of its strengths.  We covered a lot of material this semester, but none of it felt superficial.  Each unit I walked away with new knowledge about the subject matter, but also about myself.  I came to this class angry at all the problems and injustice in the world, many which seemed to have gained steam in the months leading up to January.

As certain civil liberties seem to come under threat, a class like this is more important than ever.  It highlights what minority “other” groups have experienced and are experiencing.  On the flip side it shows how the dominate mostly white culture has silenced and shut out these smaller voices since we decided they were “other”.  Maybe five new voices won’t change the world, but five new people now have a deeper grasp of the discrimination and struggle “other” groups have.  Hopeful those five new voices will be less complicit in the racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression in our society.  As white people we hold significant power and now I think we can better harness it to push for a more open accepting society, because we know that we are far from there.  You promised us this class would make us mad, well it didn’t disappoint.  I leave with the anger and frustration I came with, just I now have better words to express it positively for change.  Not only from the articles we read, but also from my classmates I have learned so much and had my eyes opened to so many different experiences.

Closing note: I have a very vivid memory of us sitting at dinner near the French Immigration office in Paris and talking about my hopeful Art History minor provided I didn’t fail the Sorbonne class.  I offhandedly asked you if you would be teaching a 300 level in the spring.  You replied yes, you were.  Back then I was happy that I would get to take a class with you.  If I could go back to that moment now, I would get up and dance on the tables.  Thanks for putting together a class that thoughtfully taught and challenged me so immensely.

Katelyn Kiner – Hope College – 2017

 

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