Faculty Profile: a Q & A with Professor Yousuf Al-Bulushi, Peace Studies

Emily Coons

Staff Writer

This week The Quindecim had a chance to sit down with Professor Yousuf Al-Bulushi, the newest addition to the Peace Studies Department. Throughout the course of a short interview, we were able to find out a few interesting things about one of the new faces at Goucher.

Q: Where are you from?         

  A: I was born in Bahrain. I  grew up between Bahrain and Seattle. However, my family is from Tanzania, Oman, and Washington State.

Q: How did you discover Goucher?

A: I discovered Goucher through the job advertisement that I came across. The position in Peace Studies was advertised through the Association of American Geographers.

Q: What made you want to be a professor in the Peace Studies department?

A: I think Peace Studies is an exceptionally exciting field. Firstly, it’s interdisciplinary. This means you can approach problems like peace and conflict from many different angles. That’s been something especially important to me. Secondly, this particular program at Goucher is one of the more interesting Peace Studies programs. It really embraces that sense of the interdisciplinary, and I think it puts front and center social justice, which this school holds quite dear. Thirdly, I think the position was aimed to focus on urban issues, which is an exciting and cutting edge sub-discipline in Peace Studies. So, my own scholarship looks at urban issues and as an urban geographer, this position in this department was particularly appealing.

Q: What classes are you teaching this semester?

A: I am teaching an introduction to Peace Studies course and an upper level course- Global Cities, Global Slums.

Q: Is this your first time as a professor?

A: No, I’ve taught before at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is where I received my PhD in geography.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your first semester?

A: Hmm, developing relationship with students and seeing them grow, watching the ways that they inform my own thoughts about research and teaching, and then see what they do out in the world.

So I’m sure it’s no surprise, but Goucher is kind of a quirky place.

Q: Have you seen anything strange or out of the ordinary in your first week here?

A: Hmm, I haven’t seen anything weird yet. However, I heard that if you venture off into the woods you might see some strange things, more or less. 

Q: If you had to give a first year advice on how to succeed in college, what would be?

A: Reach out. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Approach your professors, go to office hours, get involved beyond the classroom. The more the connections you make, and although I know it may be terrifying when first in a new environment, the more you reach out the more you will eventually feel comfortable.

Q: Any fun interest of hobbies that you want the Goucher community to know about?

A: I’m a huge soccer fan. I follow Valencia in Spain. And I’m always looking for a good pick up game.

Ha, I’m sure our intramural soccer team could rise to the challenge.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: No, just really excited to be here. I keep telling my family and friends from the moment I visited the campus to when I showed up here for my first day of work that I’m tremendously excited for this position and for this school.

Reel talk with Annie: “Boyhood”

Annie Schwartz

Staff Writer

“Boyhood” is a film that all college students should see and experience as soon as possible. It is a time capsule of our generation and a fantastic depiction of who we are and who we were as American adolescents growing up in the 21st century. “Boyhood” is a coming of age film written and directed by Richard Linklater, known for his movies like “Slacker,” “Dazed and Confused,” and the “Before” trilogy. The anticipation for this film began when Linklater released that he would be shooting a twelve-year epic in his hometown of Houston, Texas. From 2002 to 2013, the cast would reassemble each summer to shoot what was originally referred to as the 12 Year Project.

Linklater wanted to tell a story of, “a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through 12th grade and ends with his going off to college.” Cast as that young boy was six-year-old Ellar Coltrane who would unknowingly become the star of one of the most ingenious films of its time. The only problem with casting a six-year-old as the star of an ambitious twelve-year tale was that Coltrane would ultimately grow up in ways that Linklater could not predict. However, Linklater was willing, “to adapt the story to whatever [Coltrane was] going through.”

With a rough outline in his head, Linklater did not bother to write an entire script. Scenes would be written the night before a shoot, incorporating the thoughts and ideas of the cast into this collaborative process. The film begins with six-year-old Mason Jr. and older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, daughter of Richard) living with their struggling single mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette). Trials and tribulations are inevitable as we see the family grow and change over the years.

Unlike other films, we have never seen characters grow so drastically in such a small span of time. The years fly by in a blur as certain elements mark the progression of time. As a prepubescent tween, Samantha is seen wearing the dreadful outfits from Limited Too that we all yearned for at some point in our lives. Computers and antiquated Gameboys trigger our memory, while music ranging from Blink 182 to Soulja Boy plays in the background. These detailed aspects of the film are what make Boyhood so pertinent to our generation. Not only did these things influence Mason’s childhood, but they influenced ours as well. Comparisons do not just stop at the cultural and material. Relatable issues such as divorce, abuse, adolescence, and sex are openly discussed as Mason continuously attempts to discover his true identity. As an audience we can all sympathize with the struggle of overcoming adolescence and rising to adulthood, simultaneously facing our fears of the unknown and the uncertainties of our futures.

Witnessing this growth, “Boyhood” is an examination of the human condition. The film emphasizes the fact that there is no norm in society. While we may come from many different walks of life, we can all relate to both the hardships and achievements in life.

It is clear that “Boyhood” is a film unlike any other and it is shocking that a concept such as this had not been explored earlier. Perhaps Linklater’s originality will spark a new trend of showing time progression in film. Whatever the case may be, it will be Linklater accredited with a sense of originality. After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2014, “Boyhood” has received much critical acclaim. Not only is the film recommended for its visuals and technique, but also for its deep and moving storyline. “Boyhood” is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2014, and will hopefully receive continued success as award season approaches later this year.

New Doctor, new season

Siobhan Dempsey

Staff Writer

On August 23, a new series, usually known as a season, of “Doctor Who” premiered. The term “series” is used for the “Doctor Who” seasons from 2005 on to avoid confusing these seasons with the early seasons from 1963—89.  At the end of last series, the time travelling Doctor (then played by Matt Smith) “regenerated,” or changed his appearance, allowing the Doctor to now be played by Peter Capaldi in what is known as the Doctor’s 12th regeneration. He would actually be the 13th regeneration, but this is due to a regeneration played by John Hurt being added in between the 8th regeneration, played by Paul McGann, and the 9th regeneration, played by Christopher Eccelston, in the 50th anniversary special that aired last year. On a historical note, the concept that the Doctor could “regenerate” was created when the original Doctor, William Hartnell, couldn’t continue in the role any more and the producers needed to figure out a way to continue the show without him.

It’s time to go back to the present decade: on August 23rd, 9.17 million British viewers tuned in to see how Peter Capaldi would fill the shoes of the twelve men who came before him.

In this episode, the amnesiac and confused Doctor (Capaldi), having just regenerated, his traveling companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and their time machine (called the TARDIS or Time and Relative Dimension in Space) end up in Victorian London, accidentally taking a T-Rex along with them.  The duo meet up with private detectives Madame Vastra, a lizard woman from the dawn of time, Jenny, her human wife, and Strax, a war focused alien soldier. They solve the mystery of why people in Victorian London (and eventually the T-Rex) appear to be spontaneously combusting. Without spoiling the ending entirely, the solution to the mystery is an excellent callback to a series two episode.

Capaldi’s Doctor is grumpy, Scottish and exceedingly likely to take unwarranted potshots at his companion. Even with that annoying habit (which may be a writer’s quirk) the 12th Doctor comes off as intelligent and funny due to the way that Capaldi fully inhabits the character. Peter Capaldi grew up loving Doctor Who, and it shows. In summary, I was a bit disappointed with the writing in this episode but I have hope for the show to improve in the future based on how well Capaldi did in this episode.

Global: the Syria conflict

Clay Berg

Staff Writer

War has been raging in Syria for over three years, and an end to hostilities looks more remote now than it did when protesters were asking for democratic control amid the successes of the Arab Spring. After the death of over 200,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, little progress has been made by any side.

The old regime holds power in the capitol of Damascus and most of southern Syria. Rebel groups control significant territories in the north. These Rebel groups are, however, severely fractured from each other and conflict between them is frequent and deadly. Attempting to unite them is the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Pro-democracy and moderately pro western, the members of this coalition started the militant revolution and are generally supported by the west. Also combating the Syrian government, but with entirely different goals, are Islamic extremists, many of whom have ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Recently, a group known as the Islamic State (IS) has emerged. Their leadership splintered from al Qaeda and they are now attempting to establish a Sunni caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They have made major gains in both countries. Also involved are the Kurds. The Kurds control land in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran and are a major ethnic and political force. They have been fighting for their own state since the end of the Second World War. First they fought against the governments of the countries they live in and now, the Islamic State. All of these groups are well armed and increasingly well trained.

In the west, there has been an ongoing debate on how to handle the situation. Most foreign policy experts, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, agree that arming revolutionaries before Islamic extremists had the chance to unify would have helped put an end to the war sooner. This would have ended with more favorable results to both the west and the people of Syria. The situation is now too uncertain to arm any side without equipment falling into the hands of terrorist organizations.

The west has had one victory in the conflict. After a string of chemical weapons attacks on mostly civilian targets, the United States, Iran, and Russia were able to remove all declared chemical weapons from Syria and safely destroy them. There could still be chemical weapons hidden is Syria, but whoever uses them would be demonized by the international community and would likely face western military intervention.

With the expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq, the question of Syria only becomes more complex. The US is now allying with Kurdish forces to fight the extremists. Both Iran and the Syrian Government have voiced support for American actions. This begs the question, are the enemies of your enemies your friends? In the past the US has answered “yes,” but in light of the clear human rights violations perpetrated by IS, including crucifixion and beheading non-Muslims in the streets, the US has begun bombing IS targets in Iraq.

The next step would be to expand US military operations into Syria. Both Israel and the United Kingdom have voiced willingness to conduct air strikes, and both have the capacity to do so.

Where does this leave the people of Syria? In war torn and besieged cities eating grass to survive; in refugee camps in the surrounding countries that often lack the most basic services and are always over-crowded; and all too often, killed.

Healthy Living: What does Goucher have against exercise?

Dani Meir-Levi

Staff Writer

Am I the only one who likes the feeling after an insane run? Am I the only one who finds exercising and lifting to be the one time of the day where I don’t have to think? Am I the only one who is bothered by the decreasing hours in the SRC? It’s amazing that I find myself now having to join LA Fitness, which is not only inconvenient, but is also a financial hindrance. In this day and age, it is so blatantly obvious how important exercise is to one’s daily routine. In college specifically, exercise is vital.

    A recent study at Tufts University found that students who said they exercised at least 3 days a week were more likely to report a better state of physical health and greater happiness than those who didn’t exercise. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people get at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity most days of the week. The Institute of Medicine has proven that exercise can significantly improve cognitive abilities, academic performance, as well as health. If science and medicine are recognizing the importance of healthy living, why is Goucher limiting it?

    Health and wellness is one of the most fundamental and critical issues on college campuses. Between the lack of sleep and heavy amounts of stress, Goucher should be promoting the idea of a healthy life. The decreased hours restricts students in the time they have to exercise. Not to mention the fact that the SRC has been noticeably more crowded due to the shortened hours.

    Time is one thing that a student never wants to waste. We all have a specific time in our day that doesn’t involve studying, doing homework, watching Netflix, or eating almond butter with a spoon (or maybe

that’s just me). My point is that everyone has a different schedule. For the athletic department to significantly decrease the hours of the gym is extremely inconsiderate to the student body. If it’s a cost issue, it would be a better idea if some money were to go towards increasing the hours of the SRC instead of wasting it on random 24 mile per hour signs along the road. For those of you who are lost without your daily run, lift, or occasional visit to the SRC, I will be starting a petition to have the hours better suited to students’ needs. Let’s make Goucher a healthy campus!

New SRC Hours

This Semester:

Monday-Friday:

9am-9pm

Saturday-Sunday:

Noon-9pm

Tilling it Like it Is: The new queens of green

Todd Troester

Staff Writer

Goucher College has come into a year of change. The old ways are getting a taste of something new. Just last week GESAC(Goucher Environmental Student Advisory Council) announced two new co-chairs. Therese Neal, Associate Director of Operations and Budget of FMS has been a member of GESAC since its conception in 2007. Neal has returned as Co-Chair after a year’s hiatus. She is joined by Gina Shamshak, Assistant Professor of Economics and adviser to Goucher’s Agricultural Cooperative. Shamshak brings a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a commitment to Goucher College that matches the commitment of Neal.

The addition of Shamshak’s new blood to the long-standing GESAC organization comes at a slight cost. The biggest struggle, says Shamshak, is the learning curve. “There’s a lot to do,” Shamshak states, but she indicates that she’s ready and able to do everything required in order to be an excellent Co-Chair. Neal also expresses the difficulty of balancing all the responsibilities of GESAC and the Green Fund with that of the abundant responsibilities of her position in FMS.

Learning a new system isn’t the only worry of the new Co-Chairs. With rising tuition and departmental cutbacks the GESAC team is concerned with the inherent costs of new programs and policies. “Doing more with less,” will be a common theme for GESAC, states Shamshak. Although innovation isn’t a new concept for the pair, “We’re ready to find the best way to achieve the common goal,” says Neal. Further, Shamshak’s economic expertise is sure to help balance what is most economically feasible with what is most environmentally sustainable.

Neal and Shamshak are excited for the new academic year. Neal discusses the opportunities: “We want to broaden campus involvement and make GESAC more inclusive.” Shamshak also plays with the idea of “expanding GESAC’s scope” to more students and possibly the community outside Goucher College. The pair also expressed the need for GESAC to get back on track and start creating policies and putting them in writing. There is also a need for advertisement. “We do so much for the environment but we struggle to advertise,” says the pair. “Goucher is green at heart,” declares Shamshak, “and it’s about time we start telling people.”

To learn more about GESAC, the Green Fund, and what Goucher is doing for the environment search “Sustainability” on the Goucher home page!

Goucher Fact of the Week: last year Goucher College’s compost program diverted 47.023 tons of its food waste out of the landfill to transform it into compost.

Goucher Eats: 100 days of fruit

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

Summer; a three-month hiatus from classes and cold, the one thing that gets us through the last month of spring semester, and the only thing we talk about the first month of fall semester. Summer is a story that can be told in a thousand ways: through the places we went, the people we met, or the things we did. But I will tell the story of my summer in fruit.

My summer was blueberry picking with some of my best friends. At a local “pick-your own” orchard near my home a gallon of powder blue, quarter-sized berries will set you back fewer than twenty bucks.  The heat of the sun, the thud of berries against the plastic bucket, and the ease with which the ripest ones tumbled off the vine made for a perfect Friday morning. The blueberry oat cookies made for a perfect Saturday night.

My summer was boxes of ripe strawberries, washed, cut, puréed, and baked into a flawlessly flawed strawberry cake, filled with chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla buttercream and delicately toasted coconut. Made with love for my coworker Marina, who worked a double on her birthday.

My summer was fresh cantaloupe, sitting in all its bright orange glory in gallon buckets, just waiting to be portioned down to quarts. Cold in gloved hands, and sweet in your mouth, the melon was a welcome addition to the hundred-degree kitchen and to a hundred salads of arugula, basil, pancetta, goat cheese, and chive crumb.

My summer was medjool dates, thick and plump, soaked in water and pureed into an impossibly sweet paste. Spread onto whole-wheat dough, sprinkled with raisins, nuts, and the all-important cinnamon. Dates and raisins, rolled up and baked into a perfect swirl, and devoured while still warm.

My summer was the cornucopia of fruit that is the country of Costa Rica. It was fresh pineapple and mango every morning. Sweet and tangy, yellow and bright, their juice making the perfect syrup for pancakes and French toast. Coconut that was pulled off of a tree with a clothes hanger stuck to a pole and cut open with a machete (Costa Rica’s Swiss army knife). Momochinoes, bright red and spiky, look lethal, but beneath a demonic exterior, lurks a sweet fruit reminiscent of a grape. Try just one and you’ll be grateful that vendors sell them on literally every corner. Plantains, ripe or green, cooked anyway, slippery and sweet, or starchy and delicious.

My summer was apples. Apples; devoured during five o’clock lunches, the halfway mark of a double. Apples filling up my shopping basket, weighing down my arm, upon every trip to the grocery store.  Apples, the first thing I sought in the airport on the return trip from Costa Rica. My summer was many things and a lot of fruit. The places I went and the fruit I ate were wonderful, but my favorite place was probably home, and my favorite fruit? Apples.

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