Category Archives: Culture

Voices From Abroad: Mariangela Bucci ‘16.5, Paris

Mariangela at a familiarly named restaurant in Paris

Mariangela at a familiarly named restaurant in Paris

Voices From Abroad is back, and this week we’re stoked to feature a unique perspective on life abroad from Mariangela Buccia junior feb who’s been studying in Paris, France this fall. In Paris, Mariangela is studying political science at the Pantheon-Sorbonne, in line with her poli sci major at Midd. Mariangela is from Bermuda, though she’s not new to Europe, as she lived in Italy for four years when she was younger, for a year after high school, and spends several months in Italy everywhere. As Mariangela would say, “I was born in Bermuda but live between Bermuda and Italy.” While we constantly hear about all the awesome aspects of life abroad, Mariangela presents an extremely refreshing outlook on the often bleak and less-satisfying features of a semester overseas. So read up, and if you are a Middlebury student presently living or studying abroad, please consider submitting writing of your own (absolutely any format is welcome) to Voices From Abroad! Here’s Mariangela: 

In typical Middlebury fashion, all students studying abroad in Paris are required to create a list detailing their motivations, goals and fears for the semester abroad. First on my list, escape the bubble and return to Europe.

At Middlebury, I dread the impossible division of the scholastic from the personal. Unless you are a fan of the great outdoors (which I am not), there is little chance of real detachment from being constantly surrounded by your peers. Middlebury is the most open space I have ever lived – with the greenest grass, the freshest air– and yet it is the most suffocated I have ever felt.

Like any lover separated from their beloved, I blindly romanticized Europe in all its metropolitan greatness. I chose to study in Paris to lose and reclaim myself at once, to disappear into the city’s anonymity and assert my independence in its vastness.

After completing my list of Paris hopes and dreams, the final hurdle between my European freedom and me was a safety talk on how to survive the big, bad city. The talk was administered by the director of the Middlebury School in Paris and two policemen. However well intentioned, their advice was as infantilising as it was offensive. Beyond universal reminders to students that leaving their belongings unattended invites thievery, special attention was paid to female students. As a sort of grand finale, the trio performed a dialogue to illustrate how the fairer sex might successfully discourage unwanted male attention.

“Please, you’re so beautiful. Just one drink.”

“No thank you. I have a boyfriend.”

Now although I have not been at Middlebury long enough to learn to take offense at how heteronormative the example was, I was bothered by the suggestion for obvious reasons[1].

Beyond the fact that I am 21-year-old woman, I know Europe fairly well; I’ve spent half my life in Italy, and already attended university in a European city. I’ll be fine I thought to myself.

But before I had finished unpacking, I learned that Paris was a very different sort of Europe, and that I, a very different sort of European.

Continue reading

From AAL to ALL: a workshop



As most of you may know, MiddIncluded is a student led movement pushing for a change in Middlebury’s Eurocentric Cultures and Civilizations requirements. Since the launch of our petition in the Fall of 2013, we have been working to ensure that Middlebury adopts a more egalitarian curriculum that
1) reflects the values Middlebury says it stands for,
2) provides greater educational opportunities,
3) educates global citizens who come from all walks of life and will go off to be leaders around the world.

To keep things moving, we need YOUR help. Join the movement!

Come to ONE of our three scheduled workshops to see what you can do (or just to find out more/give us suggestions/have a conversation with us), and go/aal to find out more about us.

Date: Friday the 21st, Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of November
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm on Friday and 2:00 to 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday
Place: Coltrane Lounge on Friday and Ross B11 on Saturday and Sunday
Cost: N/A

Shahin Parhami Self Representation in Film TODAY

Acclaimed Iranian-Canadian film director Shahin Parhami will present on his work and self-representation in film tonight at 4:30 PM in the RAJ.  Parhami’s work predominantly revolves around heartfelt depictions of Iranian art, music, and culture, both at home and in diaspora. His most recent project, Amin, “is the story of an ancient musical tradition and one man’s struggle to preserve it,” and “is told using a unique approach to documentary storytelling that challenges the boundaries of fiction and reality.”  For those interested in narrative arts, this will undoubtedly be an intriguing talk from a director who has expanded his medium into new territory.  Brainerd Commons will host a reception following the talk at 6:30.

When: Today, Monday November 17, 4:30 PM
Where: RAJ
Cost: n/a

Bill McKibben: The Tower of Babel and the Ivory Tower: Reflections on Reaching for the Heavens


It goes without saying that campus celeb Bill McKibben is pretty much a genius. Almost every talk this environmentalist, best-selling author, and Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College gives is incredibly fascinating, and absolutely worth attending; it’s really quite a privilege to have McKibben on campus. So, today, if you’re interested in college achievement culture, religious studies, biblical literature, multiculturalism, or just a good time, be sure to stop by McKibben’s talk, “The Tower of Babel and the Ivory Tower: Reflections on Reaching for the Heavens.” Here’s a quick brief on what will go down”

In this lecture, Bill McKibben will look at the story of the tower of Babel from Genesis 11, and the issues the text raises for the modern college: are there limits to what we should discover, and what are some of the early ideas about we now call multiculturalism? The Babel story–at the very end of the so-called ‘primordial Bible’–is full of intriguing hints about how all humans might approach these key questions.

Bill McKibben is an author, whose books include The End of Nature, about climate change, and The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the book of Job. He’s a regular columnist for the religious magazine Sojourners, and his work has also appeared frequently in The Christian Century, as well as Christianity Today and Books and Culture. Later in November he’ll give a plenary address at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Diego, and in January he will teach a winter-term course on “Stories from the Bible.”

This lecture is sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, with generous support by Cook Commons.

Date: Today, November 17
Time: 7:30 – 9 pm
Place: Dana Auditorium (in Sunderland)
Cost: fo free

MiddWrites: Weekly Creative Writing

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On Middwrites this week we feature a repetition prose “Venin” by James Min ’17, a prose narrative written as exercise literature for creative writing (and for those who share a moderate love for liquid courage)

We encourage you to take a break from the towers and spires of piled up work and social commitments and enjoy some student crafted literature. Please send your works to us at [email protected] or [email protected] to be published here on Middwrites and contribute to the thriving community of writers we have on campus.

Enjoy: V E N I N by James Min

 Golden whiskey aged in Oakwood caskets deep in Scottish dungeons. Crimson wines from French villages of Meursault, from 50-year-old sun kissed Italian vines and wise hands of California’s connoisseurs. Vodka from the Russians and their snow covered distilleries, vodka made with 100% organic pride. Across the aisle, sits her majesty, English Gin. Vain and pretentious, ignorant of its juniper berries’ crimes. Mexican Tequila and Caribbean rum, two Latin American warlords locking fists over cocaine salt baths. Vermouth, in the far corner, the bitterest of the bitters, sulks neglected inside glossy Martini and Negroni crystals. Of course, Fernet branca, a favourite, darkest of courage .

 Poison on ice, always poured over crooked smiles. Poison that stings your throat, like a bead-eyed rattlesnake’s bite. You swallow it until finally it swallows you. Very slowly it embraces all of us in visceral warmth that wraps around the neck, the spine, wraps around desires. It lingers in the blood, coagulating inside the cerebrum blocking life but also death (welcome to the halcyon days of limbo). Poison that sets you on fire with the toss of a half smoked cigarette you smoked lying to yourself. It’s okay; you remember nothing. Venom disguised as vaccine for those who don’t want to get sick in more ways than one. It’s a cure for the heartache, the prescription of choice for ambivalent tears and exhaustion of an honest workday. Some take it for the faint whispers of unrelenting pain; they are the first ones to go, the first victims of this silent killer.

 “Two parts poison one part water, please”

 It is always a blinding collection in a dark room, perfect for dark habits. Eight seats, stools clothed in rugged leather forever imprinted with stale smoke. Dying men sit across the plastic wood counter where the bartender sloshes poison into their glasses. It’s a rose colored bar; there’s beauty in its confident squalor. It’s a small paradise, blind to gluttony, where the sararimen of the city come to bathe in its fumes. They indulge sitting next to the most unlikely partners: Albanian daughters next to a Serbian fathers, corrupt cynics next to the French poets and of course underage youth next to their thirty-five aged smoky Highlander reflections.

ISIS in Iraq: What Are Our Options?

Photo credit: CNN Online

Photo credit: CNN Online

Every day news is infiltrated with updates on ISIS, the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, and our nation’s response to their actions, movements, and threats. Known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts, ISIS has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq, and while many Middlebury students are highly educated about ISIS and American foreign policy in Iraq, many are aware of little more beyond the violence ISIS inflicts. Thus, the talk being held today, “ISIS in Iraq: What Are Our Options?” provides an invaluable educative opportunity for those already in the know, and those lagging a bit behind.

The lecture will be given by Joseph R. Núñez P’12, who completed a 30-year career in the U.S. Army in 2007, retiring as a Colonel. He also served as an Associate Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Social Sciences, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, and as a Professor of International Relations in the Department of National Security and Strategy, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Dr. Núñez recently completed an assignment with the Department of State as the Senior Economic Advisor for U.S. Consulate General Basrah in Iraq, focusing on oil, gas, construction, and planning. He spent over five years in Iraq between 2007 and 2013, almost all of it with State, focusing on capacity development through advising, establishing programs, and reporting on politics, governance, economics, security, and humanitarian assistance.

Be sure to attend, all are welcome.

Date: Today, November 13
Time: 4:30-6 pm
Place: Robert A. Jones ’59 (RAJ) Conference Room

A Small Good Thing to Begin Weekend Run Tomorrow

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A Small, Good Thing is a piece of devised theatre (a form where the majority of the content is created by the group) using Raymond Carver’s short story as the sole text. The show will be performed this weekend on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (8PM and 10PM on Thur/Fri, and 4PM and 8PM on Sat.)

The idea was the brainchild of Tosca Giustini ‘15.5, and she, Kevin Benscheidt ’17, Eddie Danino-Beck ’15, Kathleen Gudas ‘16.5 and Melissa MacDonald ’15 have been working this semester to bring it to life. The seating capacity is very limited for each show, so if you can only make a certain time, get your tickets soon at the box office. If you haven’t been taking advantage of the breadth of theatre that has been on campus this semester, there is no better time to start than the present.  The show runs just under an hour.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body


At middbeat, we are particularly sensitive to body image issues on campus, and have made a sincere effort to spark dialogue about the ways in which body pressure influences almost everyone in our community. Tonight, there’s an awesome opportunity to continue this conversation at “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body,” a talk being given by Dr. Riley Nickols, regarding athletes, eating disorders, and how we can all work together to promote healthy body image on campus. Dr. Nickols is a USA triathlon coach and therapist at the Victory Program at the McCallum Place Eating Disorder Treatment Center in St Louis, MO. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this event, not solely athletes!

Date: Today, November 12
Time: 7-8:30pm
Place: Dana Auditorium

Charity and Sylvia: A Same Sex Marriage in Early Webridge Vermont

This afternoon at 4:30 in Twilight, author Rachel Hope Cleves will present a talk regarding Sylvia Blake and Charity Bryant, a couple from Weybridge whose parternship was recognized by their Vermont community in the early 19th century.  Mary Manley of the Henry Sheldon Musuem writes in:

This talk explores the history of same-sex sexuality, and reveals how the mechanism of the “open secret” enabled Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake to be recognized by their community as a married couple two centuries before the United States v. Windsor landmark case. Cleves is Associate Professor of History at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She is the author of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (Oxford University Press, 2014). She based much of her research for this book on archival materials at the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury.  Immediately following the talk, a book signing with Professor Cleves and opening reception for the exhibit Charity & Sylvia: A Weybridge Couple will take place at the Sheldon Museum, 6-7 pm. The events are free and open to the public. Twilight Hall is located at 50 Franklin Street, Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. The Sheldon Museum is located at One Park Street, Middlebury, VT. For more information, go to <>  or call the Sheldon at 802-388-2117.

When: Today at 4:30, museum reception 6-7
Where: Twilight Hall, and the Henry Sheldon Museum
Cost: Free

SPEECH SLAM 300 Wednesday at 7:30

Have something you’re dying to say? Want to win cash money for saying it? And most importantly, can you do it in 300 seconds?

Test your skills at SPEECH SLAM 300 tomorrow at 7:30 in Axinn.

Dana Yeaton writes in:

“Got a passionate opinion, a cause to promote, or an argument from an essay you wrote? You’ve got 300 seconds to convince us. Go!” . . .

Prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be awarded. Speakers should register at go/SpeechSlam.

Hosted by the Oratory Society, the event is still accepting submissions, and even offers two optional coaching sessions, to get you ready for your 5 minutes of fame.  You can sign up for these sessions on GO/SpeechSlam as well.

Its cool if chilling in the audience is more your style; go and support the more brave among us.  (Its easy: admission is free).

Date: Tomorrow, November 12th
Time: 7:30-9:15
Place: Axinn, Abernathy Room