Hi there! Over the past ten weeks, as you may know, I have been in a program called Re-Interpreting Liberation. Throughout this time, I have also been researching a topic of my choice, writing a research paper along with it, culminating in a final presentation during this week. On Tuesday, I finally gave my presentation! What a relief to be at the home stretch of the quarter! For my student originated studies, I chose to research the coal mining insurrections in West Virginia during the early 20th century.
As I am from West Virginia, this was a very near and dear topic to me. I had always known that these events had occurred, but I had no idea to what scale this had happened! The battle of Blair Mountain was, and continues to be, the largest insurrection since the Civil War. Thousands of miners marched to fight for their labor rights; their story is quite incredible, and I highly suggest looking in to it. I know it has always been an interest of mine and I was so fortunate that I was able to study that.
At Evergreen, projects and programs that focus on Student Originated Studies (SOS) or have an SOS component are not uncommon. For me, this project was worth four out of my sixteen credits. Sometimes, there are SOSs that are an entire 16 credits! To be able to research exactly what I wanted to for ten weeks, and shape and mold my project through multiple drafts, revisions and hours of research, was a liberating experience, rather than having to conform to strict guidelines laid out by the teacher. Some people in my class, for example, created a skit in addition to their paper and performed it instead of the more traditional power point. Not only that, but I was truly captivated by some of the topics and issues brought to life by my peers: ranging from biographical pieces about Che Guevara to hip-hop music in Palestinian resistance movements, it was obvious that they each cared a lot about their topics and had spent a lot of time on them.
Now that the quarter is over, I’m looking forward to next quarter. In the spring, I will be taking Marxist Theory with Larry Mosqueda, which he has taught several times in the past. I already know that some of my friends will be in it and I am excited to start analyzing Marx and Lenin’s writings regarding race, gender, and the environment, among other topics. There is a mountain of books that I need to order…so I am going to go do that!
Have a great day!