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The beauty of a liberal arts education

December 3rd, 2011 slrond13


So every semester enrollment comes around and students begin to shop around the course catalog and find out what HC will be offering for the next semester. Once you get most of your core requirements out of the way, you have time for electives, this is when course selection becomes fun. After you finish your requirements you can pick courses clearly out of interest.

Luckily for me, all of my favorite courses happen to coincide with my Studies in World Literatures major. I can take courses of interest in any department as long as they fit the theme of the literature I am studying (with approval).

The theme of the literature I am studying has a focus on women’s writing, women in literature, and seduction/desire. When I saw the course Cinema and the Second Sex being offered I knew I had to take it.

Cinema and the Second Sex is a film course taught by Prof. Thibaut-Schilt of the French department. Although this is a film course and not a literature course, it still counts for my major as an expanded medium dealing with the representation of women in culture/society.

This course is AMAZING. Each week we watch one film (outside of class) and come prepared to discuss it in class. We only have seven students in our class so there is definitely no hiding and everyone has to participate. This might seem stressful or even annoying to some students, but Prof. Schilt does an amazing job in creating a comfortable environment where our class was more of an intimate and fun discussion rather than an intense and dry Q&A with lecture. I always look forward to going to class for this reason, plus all of the films we watched were thought provoking and interesting! I don’t consider “movie watching” a scholarly activity, but I enjoy this class so much because we  take films (the more cinematic term) and translate them into a fruitful discussion raising important issues of gender, sexuality, and race in an academic setting.

I view movies in a completely different way now that I have taken this course! Instead of merely watching a film as a spectator, I notice the cinematic techniques the director uses to communicate the film’s message. This course has definitely given me a heightened sense of perception and viewing. Now that I can view films in new ways (and from multiple perspectives), i can take this skill/knowledge and apply it to the literature I read in my major.

BEHOLD! The beauty of a liberal arts education. Instead of focusing on one discipline or major, the liberal arts education exposes students to a variety of ideas, ways of thought, and thinking. Now that I have taken Cinema and the Second Sex, I can add another critical lens to my repertoire and view literature in yet another new way!

A liberal arts education allows students to become familiar and well versed in many disciplines. Students can then take this knowledge and the skills they learn and apply them to enhance any situation they encounter in life. Pretty useful right? I’d say so!


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Sarah Rondeau '13

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