The Marlboro Record

Christian Johnson Goes to Paris

One of the goals of the generous Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation (CAJEF) grant awarded to Marlboro two years ago (The Marlboro Record, Fall 2011) is to broaden opportunities for Marlboro students to study, conduct research, and undertake internships abroad. Six students received summer grants this year for international travel and work in China, Japan, France, and Germany. 

Nora Dunne“I truly feel lucky to have had this experience over the summer, and I feel confident that I can transfer this experience to the rest of my time at Marlboro and beyond,” said senior Nora Dunne. She traveled to Germany and France on a program through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) that involved home-stays, classes, and tours to historic and cultural sites, many of them relevant to her Plan of Concentration in literature and cultural history.

“I found myself fascinated with the denial and confusion that characterized France in the Second World War,” said Nora. “These themes seamlessly correlate to ideas I would like to address as I write this year: collective memory, nationalism, and habit. But I suppose what is more important than the material is the fact that I was able to contemplate it in the actual spaces in which it occurred.”

Jan CornelSenior Jan Cornel spent six weeks in Paris, in a language immersion program through the American University in Paris, where he also cultivated his “interest in Frenchness” and reveled in the former neighborhood of Marcel Proust. Junior Courtney Varga studied Japanese in Osaka through CET Academic Programs, and junior Max Hatfield brushed up on his Chinese for eight weeks in Beijing before embarking on an independent project in Shandong Province (Potash Hill, Summer 2013). Senior Sarah Siebur spent a month in Tokyo, Japan, her former home, doing independent research in the form of poetry and photography reflecting on home, borders, and globalization.

“My work in Ireland helped to refine my ideas for Plan in terms of theory,” said Mairead Delaney, a senior working on a Plan of Concentration in visual arts and political theory whose grandparents emigrated from Ireland in 1948. She a month at the Burren College of Art, developing an art installation about her family that included artifacts from the abandoned former home of her great-aunt in Labasheeda.

“There is something drenching the land there,” Mairead wrote in her artist’s statement, referring to postcolonialism and inherited trauma. “It is as though the lamenting of myself and my family—the inherited pain of generations—was unspooling out of me.”

Mairead followed her art program with two weeks of independent study relevant to her Plan topic of cultural trauma and medical and institutionalized violence against women in Ireland. She visited sites of historic Magdelene laundries, essentially slave labor laundries for “fallen women.” She also met with representatives of Survivors of Symphysiotomy, a recent but barbaric practice that involved cutting and forcing open the pelvis of women in labor to “facilitate” birth.

In addition to funding beneficial summer internship and research opportunities for students with international interests, the CAJEF grant also provides for several faculty-led trips abroad. Stay tuned for more news on these in future issues of The Marlboro Record.