Spotted in the Hurford Center

. . . in which we explore the hidden corners and shelves of the HCAH. (These are the things that happen on snowy spring days in Stokes 103.)


Check out this shelf of books! If this bookshelf got all dressed up, it would definitely be wearing combat boots, fantastic lipstick, and some piece of clothing picked up at Philly’s Punk Rock Flea Market. I was curious as to where this bookshelf was going so decked out, so I did some digging in the HCAH archives and found this student seminar:

Picture 1

Man, it’s times like these I wish I had a time machine. (Okay okay, before you call me super lame for using my time machine to go back to 2006, are there reeaally that many times you’d travel back to as a mixed race woman? Besides, who wouldn’t wanna go back to a time when “Fergalicious” was playing on every ipod nano?)

This student seminar studied the works of African American, Chicana, Native American, East and South Asian American, and Middle Eastern women to learn about identity politics and the contributions of women of color in Second Wave feminism. They read many of the books on our bookshelf-in-question. **Excuse me while I update my Amazon wish list. . .

Stay tuned for the announcement of next year’s student seminars!

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Summer-Sponsored by HCAH, And Now He Has a Job: Jacob Horn ’13 Tells All

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 11.15.49 PM

1. How did your job grow out of your internship? Who did you have to talk to?

I was an intern [Sponsored by the Hurford Center] in the Whitney’s Publications department shortly before the Editorial Assistant position opened up. Getting the job had a lot to do with the fact that I simply kept in touch with the people for whom I’d interned. It’s easy to forget that your relationship to an institution and a department doesn’t end when your internship does. Simply checking in every now and then, saying hi, asking how projects are moving along – these things show your continued interest and investment in a place, and it keeps you on the radar for when an opportunity comes along. I was very fortunate to have things work out that way for this position!

2. Are your duties and responsibilities similar or different?

My duties aren’t exactly identical to what I did as an intern, but my internship provided a good preview of much of what I’m doing now. As an intern, I helped to edit texts, undertook a few research projects, and collaborated with the in-house designers to move projects along. That’s a lot of what I’m doing now, too, but on a deeper level since I’m here for more than two months. With that broader sense of scope, I can take on more significant roles coordinating projects and be involved with a book’s progress at all phases from planning to printing.

3. How has the move to the new building [of the Whitney] affected your job?

The move to the Whitney’s new building has had a HUGE impact on my job. For most departments, it’s less that the move has impacted what we do, but rather it is what we do. We’ve been in the new offices since October, and since then, almost everything we’ve been working on is related to the building’s opening, like a new collection handbook; labels for the inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See; invitations to opening events; and the visitor’s guide to the new building.

Everyone’s got plenty on their plates, but it’s an exciting moment. We’ve been thinking about this building as an abstract idea for so long. I’ve visited it when it was essentially a hole in the ground and walked through it while it was still far from finished. Now, in little more than a month, the building will be filled with art and visitors. That’s going to be very exciting to see.

4. Did you feel that Haverford prepared you well for working at the Whitney?

I can’t even begin to describe how well Haverford prepared me for the work that I’m doing. Certainly, the fact that I had to do so much writing in college was excellent preparation for doing editorial work, and a couple of Art History classes I took at Bryn Mawr and through Independent College Programs at Haverford were quite useful for working in an art museum.

But more importantly, as a Haverford student, whether you’re in class, at Plenary, discussing an Honor Council abstract, on a Customs team, and so on, you’re always being encouraged to think carefully and critically. You learn how to approach problem solving in a group, how to listen to what others are saying and engage in productive dialogues. In and out of the classroom, you’re empowered to approach challenging tasks. Outside the Haverbubble, what you’re tasked with can be very different, but the skills you developed inside remain highly valuable.

5. What was your favorite Hurford Center event during your time at Haverford?

It’s tough to choose my single favorite Hurford Center event, but I might have to go with a Conversations on Art outing during my sophomore year to a Philadelphia Film Society screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It took place at the Macy’s in Center City, with live accompaniment on the Wannamaker pipe organ. The film is fascinating and the music was great (and it was surreal to be watching surrounded by jewelry counters and shoe displays), but I was most struck by the conversations that took place among a group of students and faculty with diverse interests, backgrounds, and academic affiliations. It was a perfect example of the way that HCAH events can take intellectual conversations beyond the classroom, neutralize distinctions between students, faculty, and staff, and create productive collisions between disciplines.

Images from The Whitney and “Where They’re Headed: Jacob Horn ’13″

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Mixtape Monday

Welcome back from spring break! To get you back in the groove, let’s listen to some neat tunes specially selected by some of the Hurford Center’s student employees.

Miriam Hwang-Carlos, ’17

I’m sending you “Somos Sur” by Ana Tijoux featuring Shadia Mansour. I’m a recent and told convert to Ana Tijoux. This song is a fierce and danceable chant of global resistance against oppression by two badass women. Plus I’m a total nerd for combining languages.

CJ Morrison ’15

Chelsea Richardson ’18

I love how it addresses so many issues at the same time, and the spoken part at the end is so innocent yet raw and poetic.

Enjoy your beginning-of-the-end dance party! Only seven weeks ’til Haverfest!

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Go see “Sea Change” before it changes

Sea Change,” at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, documents and displays havoc wreaked by natural disasters in a strikingly clear, artistic manner. As Postdoctoral Writing Fellow Paul Farber says in Haverford’s video on “Sea Change,” “You see places that are undone by crisis and calamity, and you also see the way in which people continue to kind of plod through and find their way, and they find their way amidst the chaos.”

The show has received ample coverage off-campus as well, from a profile over at newsworks to this review on the Philly ArtBlog.

"Drying Money," Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mid September, 2005, copyright of Zoe Strauss

“Drying Money,” Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mid September, 2005, copyright of Zoe Strauss

The photos, vinyl prints, and projected images, as well as the central seating space, invite reflection and contemplation of the images that are equally powerful and subtle. Make sure you do your contemplating soon, because the show closes on March 6.

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STRANGE TRUTH is a film series at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and Haverford College that starts this very Wednesday. The series is organized by Professors Vicky Funari (Artist in Residence), Joshua Moses (Anthropology), and John Muse (Independent College Programs). John Muse, currently teaching “Film On Photography,” took the time to answer a few questions about Wednesday’s program, featuring the work of the late Harun Farocki.

From "An Image"

From “An Image”

1. Are you teaching any of Farocki’s work in your classes?

These very films plus essays on Farocki by Kaja Silverman and D.N. Rodowick.

2. Would you categorize these films as documentaries? Why or why not?

Neither are documentaries per se.  “Images of the World…” is what’s known as an essay film.  Essay films are typically pointed, argumentative, but can also be searching and reflexive.  Or they can be personal, more like journal entries or meditations on a theme than presentations of the facts.  “Images of the World…” is more like the former, Engaging as it does with history, politics, and technologies in a reflexive mode, one that asks viewers to think about seeing and what they’re seeing.  “An Image” is stranger.  Lacking narration, a fly-on-the-wall methodology, or interviews, it’s structured more as a fiction film where the characters just happen to be real people all of whom are engaged in careful but seemingly ridiculous work.  The film reveals what the photographic image will hide: the labor required to produce it.

3. What are the connections between a film about a Playboy shoot and a film about reconnaissance of Auschwitz?

Both films teach us how cameras and the technical systems within which they function not only reveal the world but hide it as well.  All views are partial and constructed, and we see both the partial view and that which lies beyond.  The cameras that captured Auschwitz couldn’t on their own make anyone see what they showed.  The crew that captures the model during the Playboy shoot has to work very hard to create the impression of easy spontaneity.

4. What do you hope to gain from attending the screening?

Hmm.  I’ll rewrite the question: what do I hope to gain from screening these films at the BMFI?  I hope that my students, Tri-Co students, BMFI members, and denizens of the Mainline, can see the work of one of the most important and most influential filmmakers of the 20th and 21st century.  Farocki died in 2014; around the world there are publications, conferences, and exhibitions are honoring his legacy.  The BMFI screening will contribute, if only modestly, to these commemorations.

5. Which screening in the Strange Truth series are you most looking forward to?

Farocki!  Of course.  And the Scott Stark.

Thank you so much Professor Muse!

For more information visit Students can catch a 6:45 Blue Bus from Stokes that goes directly to the BMFI on Wednesday.

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A Trip to the Philly Zine Fest

“I work at a bakery across the street, and I saw more alternative-looking people around the Rotunda than usual, so I decided to check it out” – Haverford alum on her reasons for visiting the zine fest

On November 9, 2014, two Haverford students made their way to the Philadelphia zine fest, thanks to the Student Arts Fund, to distribute a zine they made collaboratively. They were none other than Courtney Lau ’17 and Katy Frank ’17. FULL DISCLOSURE: the author of this blog post is, also, Katy Frank ’17, hence the shift into the first person. (Zines and blogs have certain artistic similarities, no?)

Corey, Courtney, Katy

Corey, Courtney, Katy

As Courtney and I arrived, we set up our half-table in a corner of the Rotunda. The Rotunda, on 40th and Walnut, is a multiuse arts space with some pretty neat murals. We were in between two groups of people: on our right, two best friends from childhood, a man and a woman both named Corey. On our left, a group of all-black-clad vegan punks. We were in good company. We even met a Bryn Mawr graduate who now lives in an artists collective house in West Philly, Yonnic Daze.

We were at the zine fest for a total of about six hours from set-up to put-everything-away. The zine fest was incredible because we got to be surrounded by fellow artists, writers, and zinesters. We saw zines ranging from the irreverent “pics of stics” (beautiful photos of various pieces of driftwood, kindling, etc) to the extremely urgent “danger unheard,” about police brutality towards deaf people. The afternoon was as fun as it was educational – and proved that those experiences can go hand-in-hand.

Our zine, called “Naked Scoot,” and authored by our dynamic conceptual art collaborative persona, “flaunk,” is admittedly a rather cryptic and surreal zine … and it’s all the more fun for it! Zines are super duper fun to make both for yourself and distribution. They can be diary-esque or loud, public manifestos. We were so thankful to be able to experience the beauty and quirky artistry of the Philly Zine Fest! If anyone would like to nab a copy to peruse, check out the book exchange station at Lunt Cafe!

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Zoe Strauss’ ‘Sea Change’ Brings Climate Change Home

On Friday, January 23rd, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery was so packed it was hard to maneuver through the crowd – and for good reason. Students came from throughout the Tri-Co, and the local community also showed up in full force to try and absorb Zoe Strauss’ stunning and awe-inspiring photographs. The pictures are awe-inspiring in more ways than one, as they combine a journalistic sense of cataloging with extreme artistry. They document scenes of extreme destruction with a poignant grace, even as the viewer may feel a tad voyeuristic.

"We’ll Be Back," Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mid September, 2005. Copyright of Zoe Strauss.

“We’ll Be Back,” Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mid September, 2005. Copyright of Zoe Strauss.

As Peter Crimmins writes on WHYY, “There are clusters of images showing rooms destroyed by flooding and mold; another cluster  display rainbow oil slicks on water. There is no way of knowing if these were caused by Katrina, Sandy, or the BP spill.

The point is: all these catastrophes reflect how we live now. Strauss is making a broader statement, about living in a time when a drive for oil and the consequences of its consumption create more frequent ecological disasters.”

The WHYY article contains an audio interview with Zoe Strauss which is definitely worth listening to. Zoe also participated in “Hoagies with Zoe,” where she discussed details of the exhibit with Haverford students. The show ends on March 6th – definitely visit soon if you haven’t seen yet because I can guarantee that you’ll want to go again.

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QUALIA: Innovation with the E. Clyde Lutton Memorial Fund

This spring is looking exciting! Something to look forward to: Arielle Herman’s QUALIA, a multidisciplinary performance project happening this spring thanks to the E. Clyde Lutton Fund Memorial Fund for Performance.

What does the title mean?

[Laughs] I’m not 100% certain that’s what I’m calling it.  But – what Qualia means is the phenomenological quality of subjective experience: the basic example is the color red. You look at red, and other people look at red, and you think, “How do I know they’re seeing red the same way I do?” Qualia refers to the feeling of what red looks like. Red occurs pretty similarly in peoples brains, but there is no way to theoretically describe the experience. You kind of live in your own perceptual vacuum. When it comes to music and art, which are so subjective, qualia is so important. Everyone could potentially be having their own unique experience. In that sense, subjective experience, aesthetic experience, and neurological activity are all the same thing. There isn’t much overlap in the academic world between those concepts, but I think they’re really related.

What’s your goal for the project?

My goal is to communicate that the art and music you see and hear, the things that you feel and sense, and what happens in your brain are all related to each other.  I also want to show people that they could potentially have their own unique experience of anything, but also that your qualia of anything can overlap with other people’s. I want to communicate how incredible the brain is – I’m going to have the brainwaves projected up on the wall so people can see that the brainwaves are changing.

I want it to be really interactive.  The physical goal, i.e. what this is going to look like: people will be able to change the music by turning dials and pressing buttons on a MIDI controller [a device that allows the user to change different aspects of music].  There will also be a MIDI controller which changes the frequency of synthesizer oscillation, which then controls the frequency of flashing light. Meanwhile, another person could be hooked up to a BCI [a brainwave scanner that uses electrodes] and their brain waves could be projected onto a wall, while a spectrogram tracks how the frequency of their brain waves accords with the music and the flashing light. We might also project a visualization of the brain waves and the music playing on the walls. I’m teaching myself engineering and computer science for this project.

a MIDI controller

a MIDI controller

Whats your approximate timeline for this?

I think the weekend of March 20, for two or three nights. It will be in James House. Above all, it’s a live performance. You go and listen to music and watch cool stuff on the walls. I’m thinking of bringing in some of my musician friends to play music alongside me. It might turn into a collaborative musical effort. This is going to be in James House – at least that’s the plan.

How does this relate to your academic work?

It’s very related. I’m a Psychology major, neuroscience minor. I took “Psychology of Music” last semester, I’m in a Neurobiology class right now. This is really my first effort to wed my interests. This exhibit is philosophy, psychology, computer science, engineering, neuroscience, music, visual art, theater and performance. I want to make neuroscience more accessible for people – to communicate how important it is. Also to make music accessible. These things aren’t as scary as they sound or look. You put three electrodes on your head and you can see brain waves – its so simple! You can investigate yourself.

Is there anything else we should know about QUALIA?

It’s open to anyone who wants to come, including faculty and staff. There will probably be a talk beforehand, and you can come discuss any number of the different disciplines involved in this project.

Check out Arielle’s work at her website!


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American Rubble

Paul Farber, a Postdoctoral Writing Fellow at Haverford, answers all your questions about the most exciting First Friday since FAB had that cooking class in Reading Terminal Market.


1.Can you tell me a little bit about the event? What/Who/Where/When?

American Rubble is an artist residency, symposium, and temporary exhibition on Tuesday, Dec 2 and Friday, Dec 5 that seeks to explore the ways we engage the economic and architectural transformations occurring currently in many contemporary cities, especially Philadelphia.  The events center around artist Stephanie Syjuco’s developing project, American Rubble, in which she seeks to collect and archive pieces of urban rubble, to convey and compare histories of the present. Syjuco will be in collaboration and conversation with students from several Haverford classes, and a group of prominent scholars/artists of cultural memory including Camilo J. Vergara, Susanne Slavick, Joshua Clover, and Salamishah Tillet.

2. When did you start organizing American Rubble? How did the idea start?

I first discovered Syjuco’s work when researching American artists who engage the history and memory of the Berlin Wall. Her series “Berlin Wall” was a critical and creative intervention against Cold War triumphalism, as well as an invitation to consider the multiple ways we imagine and consume history. Syjuco and I began corresponding about her project, and she became one of the artists included in the exhibition “The Wall in Our Heads” I curated this Fall in Washington D.C. (Which will be traveling to Haverford’s CFG Gallery next Fall.) We met for the first time in Berlin last summer, but for months prior had discussed next directions for this work. We realized we had a shared investment into questions about contemporary urban reinvestment and gentrification, and connected those conversations with other faculty members here at Haverford and Bryn Mawr, and critical thinkers in the Philadelphia area. This project is a direct collaboration between many faculty across disciplines (ranging from History to Chemistry to Art to the Library) and involves members of the larger Philadelphia community.

3. How did you choose the site of Ryan Gym for the temporary art exhibit?

My office is located in Ryan Gym, and even after over a year of being on campus, each day when I enter the building I see something new that catches my eye. Sometimes, it’s a fascinating architectural detail, or a new beam of light, or a different student activity in the gym, but I find it remarkable that a building so tied to the past traditions of Haverford can be so dynamic. Ryan is located at the physical heart of the campus and continues to invite speculation on what it could be for our campus – and its immediate future includes an exciting transformation into a well-resourced space for student creative and collaborative work. We want to celebrate that approaching evolution. When Syjuco visited Haverford back in August, we spent a lot of time in Ryan and thought about it as a building that could both be a venue for this project and is itself a statement about the passage of time. Our goal is to temporarily transform the space, to respect it and also create a venue for critical and collective dialogue.

4. What is so American about rubble? Why not trash or garbage in the title?

The title is an invitation to thinking about American culture and the future legacies of this era. The title signifies in a few directions – it is play on the mythologized cultural figure of the “American Rebel” to think about the causes and values of urban building projects; an ode to symposium speaker Camilo Vergara’s powerful work American Ruins; and an invitation to think about the physical condition of American cities that experience shocks and upheavals, even as they regrow.

Syjuco has pointed out previously, “Rubble is a transitional state – debris created by tearing something down. It is meant to be cleared away, an architectural folly, a failure of construction that is stigmatized and not to be looked at. By salvaging these objects, [my] project aims to critique the propensity to create souvenirs out of almost any event, instead turning the public’s attention on to objects that are a reminder of collapse.”

5. What do you hope Haverford students will walk away with after attending any or all of the three events?

We hope Haverford students and faculty involved in the project see themselves as co-producers of an emergent form of creative civic engagement. The participants are at once collaborators, conversants, critics, writers, and neighbors along Lancaster Avenue. Many of us involved with this co-curricular project, linking Syjuco and students across classes, also hope our students value working together to build platforms for critical thinking and creative expression. And finally, we hope Haverfordians comes out to view this transformation of Ryan Gym firsthand on December 5.

For more information, visit

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WHAT IS Re:Humanities?

If you have ever had a single question about Re:Humanities, from the most basic logistics to the most esoteric academic references, this is the blog post you’ve been waiting for. Katrina Obieta (BMC ’15), part of the Re:Hum working group, answers all.


1. What is Re:Humanities, logistically speaking? What/Who/Where/When?

Re:Humanities ’15: Save, Share, Self-Destruct. will be held at Swarthmore College on April 9-10, 2015.

2. And: why?

The symposium is a two-day conferences that showcases undergraduate research on digital humanities. Our goal in this symposium is to empower undergraduates with the unique opportunity to playfully engage in scholarly research, challenging them to produce and collaborate in a sphere traditionally reserved for graduates and professionals. The theme this year lies at the intersection of digital scholarship and the public realm. The tools of new media allow for innovative academic research and streamlined social contact, yet present significant trade-offs. Privacy breaches, personal digital trails, and the effects of technology in daily life remain prominent issues in public and academic circles. These concerns raise fundamental questions for both scholars and the community: What do we save? Why do we save it? What do we trade for access? How much data is too much?

3. How can students access and learn about the digital humanities in the Tri-Co beyond this conference?

Re:Humanities is supported by both the Tri-Co Digital Humanities and Haverford College’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities. They have many different programs and opportunities for students to learn more about digital scholarship. Learn more here:

4) Feminist scholar Donna Haraway writes, “I seek my siblings in the nonarboreal, laterally communicating, fungal shapes of the queer kin group that finds lapdogs and laptops in the same commodious laps” (When Species Meet, 10). How can the Digital Humanities navigate the differences and similarities between lapdogs and laptops?

Digital Humanities and especially the Re:Humanities Symposium both sit at the intersection between lapdogs and laptops. The Digital Humanities not only allow media and technology to advance, but research and scholarship in this field are constantly thinking about ways in which in can be put to everyday use in academia and beyond. This application and sharing of digital advances and scholarship from academia into the public realm is exactly what this year’s symposium hopes to explore.

5) What advice would you give students who want to submit to Re:Humanities 2015?

Two pieces of advice for students looking to submit proposals: one, is to submit early / on time and two, is to have a clear proposal topic or question. The Working Group is not necessarily looking for finished projects, but having a clear direction will be helpful. This year’s theme reaches out far and wide, so we can’t wait for all the different kinds of submissions and proposals we will receive!

For more information, visit

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